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Jay Carney, Amazon’s Top Policy Executive, to Join Airbnb


SEATTLE — Jay Carney, who was press secretary for former President Barack Obama, is leaving the highest policy and public communications job at Amazon to affix Airbnb.

Airbnb said in a blog post on Friday that Mr. Carney would turn out to be its global head of policy.

Mr. Carney, a former journalist at Time magazine, joined Amazon in 2015 as its first senior vp of worldwide affairs, combining public relations and government lobbying as the corporate faced growing scrutiny. Mr. Carney fiercely protected Amazon’s image and that of his boss, Jeff Bezos, one in every of the richest men on this planet.

Mr. Carney’s departure is one in every of several changes atop Amazon a yr into the tenure of Andy Jassy, who succeeded Mr. Bezos as the corporate’s chief executive last July. Mr. Jassy, who previously built and ran Amazon’s cloud computing business, is understood for his attention and interest in details and has dug into parts of the corporate which can be newly under his control.

Dave Clark, the architect of Amazon’s logistics expansion, announced last month that he was leaving before a successor was named. John Felton, a transportation executive, replaced Mr. Clark because the chief executive of Amazon’s retail and operations business. Two of the corporate’s most senior Black executives, who were Mr. Felton’s peers, also departed.

Mr. Jassy announced Mr. Carney’s departure in an email to his senior leadership team, praising Mr. Carney for “his many significant accomplishments on behalf of Amazon’s customers and employees, for helping us construct a robust set of capabilities in Public Policy and PR.” The Recent York Times obtained the e-mail.

“The whole lot about my time at Amazon has exceeded my expectations,” Mr. Carney said in an email to his team on Friday, which was also obtained by The Times. Mr. Carney didn’t provide a comment when contacted on Thursday.

Amazon faces more regulatory threats from governments world wide now than at any time in its history. The Federal Trade Commission, led by an Amazon critic, Lina Khan, is conducting a broad investigation into whether the corporate’s practices broke antitrust law. Lawmakers may additionally vote this yr on laws that might stop Amazon from prioritizing its own products, like batteries and trash bags, over those sold by competitors in its online marketplace.

Amazon’s public relations specialists and lobbyists have promoted the corporate as a signature employer and boon to local economies where it operates. In 2018, the corporate announced a minimum wage of $15 an hour, drawing praise from its frequent critic, Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont.

But Mr. Carney’s team got a black eye during Amazon’s seek for a second headquarters, when in 2018 it underestimated the progressive backlash it might face in potentially constructing a significant presence in Recent York. Amazon ultimately reversed course and selected one other location.

Mr. Carney’s team also faced criticism after an official Amazon Twitter account dismissed a congressman’s concern last yr that employees needed to urinate in bottles while on the job. The corporate apologized.

More recently, Mr. Carney’s team has mounted a vigorous response to the antitrust laws, which Amazon has said would make it difficult to supply its signature fast shipping of its Prime subscription service. The corporate spent roughly $9.1 million on federal lobbying in 2015. Last yr, it spent $19.3 billion.

Drew Herdener, who heads public relations under Mr. Carney, was promoted to senior vp on Thursday, in accordance with 4 individuals with knowledge of the inner announcement. The communications team has grown from 10 people to “several hundred,” Mr. Herdener said in an interview last fall, adding that Amazon had hired 200 communications professionals within the previous yr alone.

As the corporate searches for a latest head of worldwide affairs, Mr. Herdener will report on to Mr. Jassy, and the policy teams will report back to David Zapolsky, the final counsel, in accordance with the e-mail.

Airbnb has been in search of its own head of policy and communications after Chris Lehane, a former aide to Bill Clinton, left for a cryptocurrency enterprise capital fund earlier this yr.

Erin Griffith contributed reporting.

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