KC Crosthwaite
KC Crosthwaite

KC Crosthwaite, Altria chief growth officer, today joined Juul Labs as CEO, taking over for co-founder Kevin Burns.

Altria, parent of Philip Morris USA, invested $12.8B a year ago in Juul for a 35 percent stake in the vaping company.

Crosthwaite spearheaded Altria’s expansion into alternatives to combustible cigarettes and led commercial and regulatory efforts concerning the US launch of the IQOS heated tobacco device.

With Crosthwaite’s appointment, Juul has suspended all print, broadcast and digital advertising in the US, and curbed federal lobbying efforts.

Crosthwaite plans to conduct a revive of Juul’s practices and policies to ensure they are aligned with the company’s aim of responsible leadership.

Altria CEO Howard Willard called Crosthwaite a proven industry leader who understands the importance of responsible business practices. “I believe K.C.’s experience, discipline and dedication to making harm reduction an industry-wide reality will help Juul achieve its mission, while also urgently confronting and reversing underage use of vapor products,” he said in a statement.

Separately, Altria has ended merger talks with Philip Morris International.