JUUL Labs, Inc. (JLI), an alternative cigarette company, went from startup to a $4 billion revenue company in just four years. As of September 2018, the company had more than 70 percent of the e-cigarette market.

Executive Summary

The head of Risk and Insurance for JUUL Labs, Inc., Loren Crannell, discusses the task of managing risk at a disruptive startup company with CM Guest Editor David Bradford. Crannell explains how the company works through regulatory scrutiny and relationships with insurance underwriters in the wake of lawsuits challenging past marketing practices and product safety.

In September 2019, the U.S. FDA warned JLI about deceptive marketing practices as concerns its “Make the Switch” campaign, which portrayed its products as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. The company subsequently replaced CEO Kevin Burns with K.C. Crosthwaite, an executive at tobacco company Altria, and announced that it would suspend “all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S.” In October 2019, JLI announced it would no longer sell most of its flavored products, which were seen as appealing primarily to teenagers.

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