Japan Tobacco Inc.'s Masamichi Terabatake is in the hot seat.

The 52-year-old started off 2018 by taking the helm of the world's third-largest tobacco company. While the view from his new Tokyo office may be different than the one from his previous stint at the international unit in Switzerland, the obstacles the company faces will look familiar to the 28-year veteran: tighter global regulations, slowing cigarette demand and competition to offer high-tech smoking devices.

Terabatake, who becomes the fifth head of Japan Tobacco since it was privatized in 1985, has already spoken about some of the issues he'll have to grapple with. When appointed in November, Terabatake said he wanted to focus on taking more market share in developed countries, entering new emerging markets, and further developing the company's next-generation tobacco products.