Juul CEO Steps Down

With new reports about the dangers of vaping, Juul is replacing its CEO, Kevin Burns, with former Altria tobacco executive K.C. Crosthwaite.


Following several deaths and worrying data about increasing numbers of young people vaping, the company also announced a pause in all advertising. The decision comes after major media companies and networks banned e-cigarette advertising. Juul had already stopped marketing and selling its flavored products.

The company’s news statement is typical for a CEO announcement with confidence expressed about the departing CEO (Kevin Burns), the new leadership, and the direction of the company. Below is the Kevin Burns’ quote:

“Working at JUUL Labs has been an honor and I still believe the company’s mission of eliminating combustible cigarettes is vitally important. I am very proud of my team’s efforts to lead the industry toward much needed category-wide action to tackle underage usage of these products, which are intended for adult smokers only. Since joining JUUL Labs, I have worked non-stop, helping turn a small firm into a worldwide business, so a few weeks ago I decided that now was the right time for me to step down. I am grateful to be able to confidently hand the reins to someone with K.C.’s skill set, which is well-suited to the next phase of the company’s journey.”

Juul image source.

Burns image source.


  • What are the communication objectives of the news statement? How well does it meet those objectives?

  • Assess Burns’ quote. What are the objectives of his statement, and how well does it meet those?

  • Altria had bought a 35% stake in Juul, so the CEO decision makes sense, and Crosthwaite is an industry insider. How do you view the decision?