Jay Carney, Amazon’s chief politician, will join Airbnb

SEATTLE – Jay Carney, who was President Barack Obama’s press secretary, is leaving Amazon’s top political and public relations position to join Airbnb.

Airbnb reported Friday in a blog post that Mr. Carney will become its global head of policy and communications.

mr. Carney, former journalist for Time magazine. joined Amazon in 2015 as its first senior vice president of international affairs, combining public relations and government lobbying as the company faced increasing scrutiny. He has fiercely defended the image of Amazon and his boss, Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men in the world.

mr. Carney’s departure is one of several changes at Amazon. year as Andy Jassiwho succeeded mr. Bezos as executive director. mr. Yassy, ​​who previously built and managed Amazon’s cloud computing business, is known for his attention to detail, and he delved into parts of the company that had recently come under his control.

Dave Clark, Amazon Logistics Expansion Architect, announced last month that he is leaving before a successor can be appointed. John Felton, director of transportation, replaced Mr. Clarke as chief executive of Amazon’s retail and operations business. Two of the company most senior black executiveswho were Mr. Felton’s peers are also gone.

mr. Yassy announced Mr. Carney’s departure in an email to his senior management, praising him for “many significant accomplishments on behalf of Amazon customers and employees and for helping us build a powerful set of public policy and public relations capabilities” . The New York Times received an email.

“Everything about my time at Amazon has exceeded my expectations,” Carney said in an email to his team on Friday, also obtained by The Times. He did not provide comment when contacted on Thursday.

Amazon is facing more regulatory threats from governments around the world now than at any time in its history. The Federal Trade Commission, led by Amazon critic Lina Khan, is conducting a broad investigation into whether the company’s actions violate antitrust law. Lawmakers may also vote this year on legislation that would prevent Amazon from prioritizing its own products, such as batteries and trash bags, over those sold by competitors on its online marketplace.

Amazon’s PR professionals and lobbyists promote the company as a well-known employer and a boon to the local economies in which it operates. In 2018, the company announced a $15 an hour minimum wage, drawing praise from its frequent critic, Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders.

But Mr. Carney’s team received a black eye during Amazon’s search for a second headquarters when, in 2018, it underestimated the progressive backlash it could face with potentially building a major presence in New York. Amazon changed course and chose a different location.

mr. Carney’s team also faced criticism after Amazon’s official Twitter account last year dismissed the congressman’s concerns that workers had to urinate in bottles while working. Company apologized.

More recently, Mr. Carney’s team has responded strongly to antitrust laws that Amazon says will make it difficult to offer a Prime subscription’s branded fast shipping. In 2015, the company spent approximately $9.1 million on federal lobbying. She spent $19.3 million last year.

Drew Herdener, who heads public affairs under Mr. Carney, was named senior vice president on Thursday, according to four people familiar with the internal announcement. The PR team has grown from 10 people to “several hundred”. Gerdener said in interview last fall, adding that in the previous year alone, Amazon hired 200 communications professionals.

While the company is looking for a new head of international relations, Mr. Herdener will report directly to Mr. Jassi, while political teams will report to General Counsel David Zapolsky, according to the email.

Airbnb is looking for its own policy and communications chief after Chris Lehane, a former aide to former President Bill Clinton, left for a cryptocurrency venture fund earlier this year.

Erin Griffith made a report.