Taat Lifestyle & Wellness [CSE:TAAT / FRA: 2TP2] has made a major new appointment to its advisory board with Michael Saxon, a seasoned tobacco executive joining. Saxon has had a long and varied career in growing businesses in the US, Europe and Asia.
Taat is an alternative cigarette maker which is setting out to give smokers a better experience than smoking a tobacco-based cigarette. One of its core objectives is to provide smokers with a means to get away from the addictive qualities of nicotine. It is setting out to provide a healthier alternative to other methods used by smokers to give up.
Saxon is an important addition to the Taat team and will be working closely with Taat CEO Setti Coscarella and CRO Tim Corkum, providing guidance and insight. He will come in useful as the company prepares for the launch of Beyond Tobacco in the US market. Saxon has led business units with full profit and loss responsibility ranging from $100m to $3bn.
Saxon has worked in senior roles within Altria Group and Philip Morris International and ran the Philip Morris International business in Denmark and Norway. He advises boards and executive teams of blue chip institutional investors as well as venture capital firms and private equity funds on long term strategies. He has also established Trolley Ventures, a seed stage venture fund that invests in start ups in the state of Virginia.
Bringing Saxon on board as an adviser allows Taat to benefit from his relevant experience in the tobacco industry as the company prepares to launch Beyond Tobacco. He is especially familiar with the US market and should play a key role in Taat’s go to market strategies. The dynamics of international expansion of distribution for a product in the tobacco category requires familiarity with the habits of consumers in each individual market, the competition landscape and local regulations.
Ambitious growth and distribution plans
Taat has ambitious growth and distribution plans that go beyond the US, and can draw on Saxon’s considerable expertise in the European and Asian markets.
Taat recently received 3.2 tons of its proprietary base material, called Beyond Tobacco, at its Nevada processing facility. This is going to be refined and transported to its contract manufacturer to produce the first distribution ready batch of Beyond Tobacco. It will be packaged in an updated pack design pending finalisation. Taat reckons it can produce 15,000 10 pack cartons with the material available with a six week lead time for this batch to be packaged and made ready to ship.
Taat shares have had a fantastic run in the last 30 days having been trading at 57 cents in Germany at the start of September. Since then it has risen to €2.04 at time of writing, a 257% gain.
We consider Taat to have very strong growth prospects as an alternative to tobacco. The addition of Saxon to the firm’s advisory board is a major win for Taat thanks to his considerable expertise with big tobacco distribution and his knowledge of non-US markets.