Leading e-cigarette maker Juul will lay off up to 500 of its employees by year’s end, reports the Wall Street Journal. Currently, Juul employs a little over 4,000 people, making the planned layoffs amount to up to 15% of its workforce. The WSJ cites sources familiar with the matter, but those same sources note that the exact amount of people Juul is planning on laying off isn’t set in stone and could be reduced to only 10% of its current employee base.
The layoffs are part of “a necessary reset” at the company, according to its new CEO K.C. Crosthwaite. Crosthwaite took over as CEO at Juul in September after months of the company increasingly coming under the scrutiny of regulators who say that its flavored e-cigarettes, including mango and creme flavors, are encouraging teenagers to take up vaping and/or smoking.
The plan to lay off up to 500 Juul employees is just one of the steps Crosthwaite is taking to “reset” the company. The WSJ reports Juul is also working on a Bluetooth device that could help stem teenage use of its product, though it’s not clear what kind of device it is or how it would work. In addition, Crosthwaite is reorganizing the structure of the company itself, according to the WSJ:
Mr. Crosthwaite is combining several technical teams into one team now known as Product. Juul’s co-founders, James Monsees and Adam Bowen, who previously held the titles of chief product officer and chief technology officer, respectively, will join a new office called the founder’s office, where they will advise Mr. Crosthwaite on a variety of subjects, one of the people familiar with the matter said.
But the changes don’t end there for Juul. By May of next year, the company will be required to submit any products it wants to keep selling in the United States for review to the Food and Drug Administration.