E-cigarette maker Juul has forced out two top executives as the company struggles to expand overseas and faces increased regulatory scrutiny.
Grant Winterton, who was president of Juul Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), resigned, according to a memo sent to staff today. Ken Bishop, Juul’s president of Asia-Pacific South, also stepped down.
Winterton wrote: “It’s with a heavy heart that I announce that I have decided to step away from my role as President of EMEA here at Juul Labs.”
A spokesperson for the e-cigarette company said: “As we continue to reset the vapour category, we are taking a methodical approach to our overseas presence and are working to centralise oversight of our overseas operations.
“We thank both Ken Bishop and Grant Winterton for their considerable contributions to getting us where we are today in their respective markets and wish them well in their future endeavours.”
Juul also said in a memo sent to staff that it was sacking workers in Singapore and making other “significant cost reductions operationally”.
The San Francisco start-up has struggled to boost sales during its rapid international expansion, which has led the e-cigarette firm to retreat from some markets.
Regulatory scrutiny has also taken its toll, and worsened yesterday when a group of 39 US state attorneys general announced it would look into the firm’s marketing practices.
The probe will examine whether Juul targeted underage users, as policymakers increasingly worry about what some have labelled an epidemic of “vaping” among the young.
Juul said in a statement that it seeks to “earn the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials”.
It said it seeks to “combat underage use and transition adult smokers from combustible cigarettes.”