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Juul Replaces CFO as Part of Major Management Shakeup: Brainstorm Health

October 29, 2019, 10:47 PM UTC

Good afternoon, readers.

The rollercoaster continues to whipsaw for vaping giant Juul. The besieged e-cigarette maker has launched even more executive shakeups in its C-suite, replacing chief financial officer (CFO) Tim Danaher and chief administrative officer Ashley Gould, among a number of other top-level changes.

Former Juul CEO Kevin Burns resigned last month amid growing scandals over the company’s marketing tactics and public health concerns centered on mysterious lung illnesses linked to vaping (though those cases mostly seem tied to illicit THC cartridges which can be attached to Juul and other modifiable e-cigarette devices).

Burns was replaced by longtime tobacco industry veteran K.C. Crosthwaite, a former executive at Altria (the company that sells Philip Morris brands in the U.S. and has a hefty 35% stake in Juul). Danaher is being replaced by Guy Cartwright; two other exits include Craig Brommers, Juul’s chief marketing officer (a position that is being eliminated entirely in the wake of lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny) and senior vice president of advanced technologies David Foster.

“As the vapor category undergoes a necessary reset, this reorganization will help Juul Labs focus on reducing underage use, investing in scientific research, and creating new technologies while earning a license to operate in the U.S. and around the world,” said Crosthwaite in a statement. The company has ceased digital, print, and T.V. advertising and is voluntarily yanking non-tobacco or menthol flavored products from shelves.

Furthermore, Juul is also slated for 500 job cuts across the company.

These sorts of retrenchments and management shakeups are usually meant as an olive branch to regulators and the public. It’s unclear that the cascading vaping controversies will hobble Juul outright—and, as I’ve written before, it’s entirely possible that both vaping and tobacco companies have a Plan B tucked into their vests if the market does unravel.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy, sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

Report: Google parent Alphabet wants to snatch up Fitbit. Reuters reports that Google parent Alphabet has placed a bid to buy up wearables firm Fitbit. If true, it undeniably fits into Alphabet's health care strategy—rather than having to create an entirely new wearable offering, Alphabet could benefit from Fitbit's existing customer base (and its mounds of health data) while adding a some Google-style technological pizzazz which could also inform its other forays into health research and data collection. (Reuters)

INDICATIONS

Johnson & Johnson halted trading to announce tests finding no asbestos in its baby powder. When a massive company halts trading on the stock market, it's either because some really good or some really bad news is about to come out. But, well, "good" and "bad" are relative terms; in Johnson & Johnson's case, the firm halted on Tuesday before announcing that a new round of tests found no signs of asbestos in talc baby powder products, a 33,000 lot of which was voluntarily recalled earlier this month following contamination concerns from the FDA. J&J shares rose 2.7% in after-hours trading. (CNBC)

Hopes for a tuberculosis vaccine. A team of researchers in India are cheering a new tuberculosis treatment they hope will offer long-lasting protection as a vaccine against the highly infectious disease. TB kills some 1.5 million people globally each year, making the vaccine's potential success a huge deal for global health efforts. (BBC)

THE BIG PICTURE

Healthy foods, a healthy planet. A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that, in many cases, foods that nutrition researchers consider healthy for most people are also generally good for the environment. Those include even water-hogging foods such as nuts (though vegetables are significantly better for the environment); on the flip side, red meats were found to be unequivocally bad from a conservation standpoint. (NPR)

REQUIRED READING

China Prepares to Launch Its Own Digital Currency as Facebook's Libra Languishesby Naomi Xu Elegant

A.I. Vs the Wolves of Wall Streetby Jonathan Vanian

Why Big Finance Can't Say No to Saudi Arabiaby Bernhard Warner

Can Virtual Reality Help Make Workplaces More Inclusive? by Kristen Bellstrom

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