By Jennifer Maloney
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Juul Labs Inc. is preparing a staff restructuring, as the e-cigarette maker braces for slower sales following a mysterious vaping-related illness and a proposed U.S. ban on flavors that make up more than 80% of its sales.
The move underscores the pressure faced by one of the country’s most valuable startups. The San Francisco company, which employs about 3,900 people, has been adding hundreds of staff as it expands in the U.S. and abroad. It had about 225 employees at the end of 2017.
While Juul plans to continue its expansion, the company will scale back the pace of its hiring and some jobs will be eliminated, according to people familiar with the matter. All job postings are under review, the people said.
Juul this week instructed managers of some divisions to prepare staff reduction plans identifying must-keep roles, some of the people said. Juul will try to avoid layoffs by redeploying staff to new or existing open positions where possible, one of the people said. The company last week implemented a two-week hiring freeze, but has made exceptions.
Juul’s website lists hundreds of job openings—from engineering and data science roles in San Francisco to sales and marketing functions in Montreal and Moscow. The company recently issued $785 million in convertible debt in part to fund its expansion.