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New Juul CEO reshuffles top deck to fix image

New Juul CEO reshuffles top deck to fix image
FILE PHOTO: A store selling Juul vaping products is seen in Los Angeles, California, September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson -
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LUCY NICHOLSON(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Juul Labs Inc said on Tuesday its finance and marketing heads will step down, as new chief executive officer revamps top management in a bid to rebuild the e-cigarette maker’s public image amid intense scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers.

The company will also cut 10% to 15% of its workforce by the end of the year as part of a broad reorganization under CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, a former executive at major shareholder Altria <MO.N>.

Juul, by far the most popular e-cigarette maker in the United States, has been rocked by concerns over the strong appeal of its nicotine products among teenagers.

The departures of Chief Financial Officer Tim Danaher and Chief Marketing Officer Craig Brommers come just weeks after Juul suspended advertising in the United States.

The company’s colorful advertisements have been slammed by regulators, lawmakers and state attorneys general over their part in the sky-rocketing use of e-cigarettes among teenagers.

Danaher, who has been CFO for five years, will be replaced by insider Guy Cartwright, while the role of marketing chief will be terminated, a company spokesman said.

Chief Administrative Officer Ashley Gould and product development executive David Foster are also leaving, he added.

Crosthwaite replaced Kevin Burns last month, taking the top job as merger talks between Altria and Philip Morris <PM.N> collapsed.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September warned Juul that it was misleading consumers by marketing its USB resembling e-cigarettes as safer than cigarettes, and requested additional information on its nicotine blend.

Soon after, the Trump administration announced plans to ban all flavored e-cigarette products, citing the alarming growth in teenage use.

Crosthwaite has said Juul will refrain from lobbying the Trump administration on the proposed flavor ban.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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