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- E-cigarette maker Juul curtailed its expansion and shook up its management in 2019 in the face of regulatory scrutiny and federal investigations.
- From new chief regulatory officer Joe Murillo to chief operations officer David Dickey, here are the 23 people charged with repairingJuul’s damaged relationship with the public and regulators.
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It’s been a tough year for the dominant e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs, which has been facing regulatory scrutiny and investigations over the health of its products.
The startup has been sued by states including New York and California, which say that Juul targets teens, fails to warn that its products contain nicotine, and represents its product as safer than cigarettes. The government has warned against the use of e-cigarettes as vaping-related illnesses have grown, though many of those cases have involved vaping THC products, which Juul does not sell.
Juul has shaken up its management as it attempts to repair its damaged relationship with the public and regulators.
CEO K.C. Crosthwaite took over from previous CEO Kevin Burns in September and installed new leaders as the company enters its next phase. These executives oversee the company’s regulatory practice, engineering, strategy, press relations, and more.
Given the challenges it’s facing, Juul is leaning on people like Joe Murillo and Jared Fix with experience at companies like Altria and Constellation Brands, respectively, whose products are heavily regulated. Others, like former White House operative Josh Raffel, are seasoned crisis management experts.
Here are the 23 executives and other key people who are charged with battling Juul’s mounting challenges:
As Juul Lab’s new CEO, K.C. Crosthwaite is tasked with guiding the e-cigarette maker as it faces public concern and regulatory scrutiny.
Crosthwaite comes to Juul at a critical juncture in its history.
Under him, the company has suspended all product advertising in the US and stopped selling popular flavors like mango and fruit. Juul has also said it will not lobby the Trump administration on its looming flavor policy.
As it faces mounting public concern and regulatory scrutiny over the health effects of vaping, the lifelong tobacco exec and former chief growth officer at tobacco giant Altria is tasked with getting the company authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to keep selling its products in the US.
A lot is riding on Crosthwaite, since it’s he who identified and pursued opportunities while at Altria, including its $12.8 billion investment in Juul. That 2018 investment valued Juul at $38 billion, which was recently slashed to $19 billion.
James Monsees is one of Juul’s cofounders and an adviser to the CEO.
Monsees founded Juul with Adam Bowen, whom he met during smoke breaks while studying product design at Stanford University in 2004.
Monsees was the company’s chief product officer until the recent management shake-up. He now belongs to a new founders office, where both he and Bowen are advisers to Crosthwaite. He is also a board member.
The pair launched a precursor to Juul called Ploom in 2007. Their Juul line was spun off into a separate company in 2017. Each owns an estimated 1.75% of Juul and has accumulated an additional estimated $500 million from sales of their shares over time, according to Forbes.
Adam Bowen is Juul’s other cofounder and is also an adviser to Crosthwaite.
Like Monsees, Bowen is Juul’s cofounder, and reached billionaire status with Altria’s $12.8 billion investment in Juul in late 2018.
Juul’s mounting troubles have dinged his and Monsees’ net worth, with the recent slash in its valuation stripping them of their billionaire status, according to Forbes.
Bowen was the company’s chief technology officer. He’s now part of the founders office, acting as an adviser to Crosthwaite. He remains a board member.
Monika Fahlbusch handles Juul’s personnel, including the company’s recent layoffs.
A veteran HR executive with nearly three decades of experience at companies including Gap and Salesforce, Fahlbusch is Juul’s chief people officer.
She oversaw recent layoffs at Juul where 650 workers — 16% of the global workforce — were let go, which some former workers said reflected problems of unchecked explosive growth, lack of proper business processes, and mismanagement at the company.
Fahlbusch is also on the advisory board of Eightfold.ai, a recruiting startup.
Joe Murillo’s job is to get Juul regulatory permission to keep selling e-cigarettes.
A key member of Crosthwaite’s team is Murillo, a former colleague from Altria who leads Juul’s regulatory efforts as chief regulatory officer.
Insiders described Murillo as Crosthwaite’s second-in-command and said he was “calling the shots.” He is in charge of perhaps Juul’s biggest task: Filing its application with the FDA to keep selling its e-cigarettes and any other products.
A lawyer by training, Murillo oversees Juul’s government affairs, corporate responsibility as well as clinical and scientific affairs.
At Altria, he led regulatory strategy, engagement, communications and advocacy, including a heat-not-burn tobacco device it’s launching with Philip Morris International. He also led Altria’s e-cigarette business, Nu Mark, before Altria pulled its e-cigarettes off the market as part of its deal with Juul, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Joanna Engelke is in charge of quality affairs at Juul.
Engelke joined Juul in February 2018, and oversaw quality and regulatory affairs at the company before Joe Murillo was appointed its chief regulatory officer. Now, she looks after quality and compliance as the company’s chief quality officer.
The Harvard grad previously oversaw quality and regulatory affairs at Boston Scientific and Halloran Consulting.
At Boston Scientific, she led a company-wide change program in response to an FDA Corporate Warning Letter.
Jerry Masoudi is a former chief counsel at the FDA and now Juul’s chief legal officer.
A former Food and Drug Administration chief counsel, Masoudi became Juul’s chief legal officer in June 2018 and runs its global legal strategy.
Based in Washington, DC, Masoudi handles everything from litigation and intellectual property to brand protection, like the company’s efforts to crack down on counterfeit and compatible products from the market.
At the FDA, Masoudi supervised agency litigation and advised senior leadership on regulatory and enforcement matters. He has also held leadership roles at the Celgene Corp., Covington & Burling LLP, and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.
As chief operations officer, David Dickey is over operational change at Juul.
A private-equity executive, Dickey was brought in in early 2018 to oversee Juul’s supply chain.
As chief operations officer, he oversees its facilities and IT teams in addition to supply chain.
He led Juul’s decision to consider selling 123 Mission Street, the San Francisco office tower that it bought just about six months ago for $400 million.
Insiders told Business Insider that Dickey “holds a ton of power.”
Tom Cullen manages the entirety of Juul’s internal IT infrastructure.
As Juul’s chief information officer, Cullen manages its internal IT infrastructure.
Cullen’s 25 years of experience spans the consumer packaged goods, digital entertainment, and e-commerce industries. He also spent eight years as the CIO at Driscoll’s. At Juul, he reports to chief operations officer David Dickey.
Guy Cartwright is tasked with helping Juul cut costs by $1 billion next year.
Cartwright joined Juul in July as its transformation and operations officer, rising to chief financial officer as part of a wider management shuffle at the end of October. He replaced Tim Danaher, who left the company.
With the company planning to cut costs by $1 billion next year, Cartwright has his work cut out for him.
Before coming to Juul, he spent nearly nine years as operating partner and managing director at investment firm TowerBrook Capital Partners. Insiders describe the Harvard Business School grad as another member of Crosthwaite’s inner circle.
Saurabh Sinha is Juul’s chief accounting officer.
As Juul’s chief accounting officer, Sinha is responsible for Juul’s global accounting and compliance function, including overseeing internal controls and directing internal audits. He also leads financial results reporting and sets company policies and procedures. He reports to company CFO Cartwright.
Sinha has worked in finance and accounting in the public and private sectors, overseeing accounting books, business process improvements, IT system implementations, technical accounting, M&A due diligence, risk management, and SEC/SOX compliance.
Kirk Phelps is Juul’s new chief product officer and leads one of its most high-profile projects.
Phelps recently succeeded Monsees as chief product officer and oversees product and design, hardware engineering, software engineering, and advanced technologies.
He’s in charge of one of the company’s biggest and most high-profile bets, the Juul C1, a Bluetooth-connected device that lets owners monitor how much they vape. Phelps’ team is expected to grow as it looks for ways to combat underage use, the company said.
Phelps worked at technology companies including Carbon, Sunrun, and Apple, where he helped design the first iPhone.
Insiders say Phelps has a lot of influence but also faces high pressure because some of the company’s products have been lackluster, like a portable charging case.
Bryan White is a longtime employee and heads hardware engineering.
Bryan White goes back to the days of Pax Labs and moved over to Juul when it was spun out to be its head of hardware engineering.
The Stanford mechanical engineering grad has more than 20 years of experience designing and launching products with complex regulatory requirements. He claims to hold more than 20 US patents, according to his LinkedIn.
Jared Fix is responsible for Juul’s commercial strategy, including youth prevention.
Fix is one of the executives with regulation and compliance experience at alcohol companies including Constellation Brands and Beam Suntory who Juul hired last year to help with regulatory issues.
Hired as Juul’s chief strategy officer, he’s now chief commercial officer, which some insiders view as a sign of diminished influence at the company.
Fix’s job is to lead global commercial strategy and goals and preventing underage use. He also leads what remains of the marketing team after the company suspended all broadcast, print, and digital product advertising in the US, eliminated the chief marketing officer role, and laid off most of its marketing team.
Vittal Kadapakkam runs corporate strategy.
As the company’s SVP of strategy and corporate development, Kadapakkam isn’t part of the C-Suite but reports directly to Crosthwaite and is part of a powerful cohort of former analysts and management consultants running Juul’s corporate strategy, according to insiders.
Kadapakkam worked at companies including Goldman Sachs and KKR prior to Juul, where he is responsible for corporate strategy and cross-functional support, new market development, capital raising, and investor engagement.
Josh Raffel is a crisis-communications executive with Hollywood and White House experience.
Raffel is a crisis-communications vet whose experience has spanned Hollywood and Washington, DC, most recently as deputy communications director at the White House —Vanity Fair called him Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s “battering ram” — experience that could serve Juul as it faces lawsuits and investigations.
Raffel is also known to have high-level relationships across major print publications and TV networks, according to Axios. He reports to Juul’s chief communications officer, Matt David.
Bob Robbins comes from a spirits-industry background.
Like Fix, Robbins brings a regulation and compliance background at alcohol companies Constellation Brands and Beam Suntory.
The Stanford Business grad joined Juul in September 2017 and serves as the company’s Americas president.
Grant Winterton is charged with expanding Juul in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
With Juul increasingly coming under scrutiny in the US, overseas expansion has become a priority. Leading that charge in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa is Winterton, Juul’s EMEA president.
The climate for e-cigarettes is more positive in Europe than the US, but the company faces resistance in the EU over nicotine levels in its products, and it’ll fall to Winterton, with more than 25 years of management experience at companies such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Arnotts, and Roust, to navigate those issues.
Ken Bishop has been key to Juul’s expansion in Asia-Pacific, particularly South Korea.
Bishop has more than 10 years of experience in Asia Pacific, most recently as Facebook Southeast Asia’s managing director, and will also be key to Juul’s growth in the region.
Asia-Pacific, as Bishop has himself admitted, is big business for Juul, with 50% of the world’s billion smokers coming from there.
Over the past year, the Juul South APAC president has established the strategy, team, and operating infrastructure, including launching in countries like South Korea, Philippines, and Indonesia.
Arun Hozack will split duties in the Asia-Pacific with Bishop and handle countries like South Korea.
Hozack is the third in Juul’s international leadership along with Winterton and Bishop. He became head of North Asia-Pacific five months ago and has taken over parts of the region including South Korea.
He spent nearly 20 years at Red Bull in a variety of leadership positions, including marketing, and most recently, as the regional head of Asia-Pacific.
Riaz Valani is a Juul board member and was an early investor.
Valani is general partner at private-equity investment firm Global Asset Capital and a Juul board member.
SEC filings from 2011 showed him as an early investor in a $3.3 million equity round for Ploom, the company that was precursor to Pax Labs.
Insiders say Valani is heavily involved in Juul’s internal affairs and a familiar face at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. Valani is also a member of The Indus Entrepreneurs.
Nicholas Pritzker is an early investor in Juul, with family roots in Big Tobacco.
Pritzker, a former executive at Hyatt Hotels and a venture-capital investor who cofounded Tao Capital Partners, is another early investor in Juul and a board member.
He belongs to the Pritzker family that owned the chewing-tobacco giant Conwood before selling it to Reynolds American.
Pritzker is also an early investor in the synthetic DNA company Twist Biosciences and cofounder of the Clean Energy Trust, which invests in clean energy companies in the Midwest, according to Forbes.
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