Vaping industry in turmoil: Four more executives leave Juul

Posted at 11:25 PM, Oct 29, 2019

Juul’s executive team is undergoing a massive change for the second time in two months, as the e-cigarette company continues a major overhaul of its business strategy.

Four executives, including Juul’s chief financial officer and chief marketing officer, will soon leave the company and 500 jobs across various departments will be eliminated by the end of year. KC Crosthwaite, who joined Juul as its CEO in September, announced the changes Tuesday.

CFO Tim Danaher is leaving Juul after five years. He’s being replaced by Guy Cartwright, who joined the company in July. A company spokesperson told CNN Business that Cartwright has been “instrumental in helping us define our financial priorities and identify opportunities for efficiency.”

Juul is also eliminating its chief marketing officer position, meaning Craig Brommers will leave the company in “coming months.” Also exiting is David Foster, Juul’s senior vice president of advanced technologies, and Chief Administrative Officer Ashley Gould.

The changes will give Joe Murillo, Juul’s chief regulatory officer, more power as executives from its government affairs, corporate responsibility and scientific affairs will now report to him. Murillo started work at Juul earlier this month. He and Crosthwaite both joined the company from its largest investor, Altria,

Crosthwaite said the changes are meant to help the company achieve its new priorities, including “earning trust by reducing and preventing underage use.” Juul has come under fire from US regulators for marketing its products to teens.

The company said the changes will also help as it invests in research for its upcoming tobacco product due out next year. It’s also developing a Bluetooth-connected device smoking device.

Juul also said it’s still enforcing its marketing strategy, announced last month, which included the suspension of all TV, print and digital ads. It also will stop lobbying the government for input on the administration’s upcoming laws on e-cigarette flavors. The US Food and Drug Administration is weighing regulations to ban all flavored e-cigarettes, which some consider particularly attractive to young users.

“As the vapor category undergoes a necessary reset, this reorganization will help Juul Labs focus on reducing underage use, investing in scientific research, and creating new technologies while earning a license to operate in the US and around the world,” Crosthwaite said in a statement.

Several states are moving to ban e-cigarettes altogether and top retailers, like Walmart, have previously announced they would no longer sell vaping products.

In total, there have been 36 vaping-related deaths identified in 24 states. Last week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette products at 1,604.

The CDC has reported that all patients in the outbreak had a history of using e-cigarette products, and most have reported a history of using products containing tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the primary psychoactive component of cannabis.

–CNN’s Chris Isidore and Jamie Gumbrecht contributed to this report.