SEATTLE — Jay Carney, who was press secretary for former President Barack Obama, is leaving the highest coverage and public communications job at Amazon to affix Airbnb.
Airbnb mentioned in a weblog put up on Friday that Mr. Carney would change into its international head of coverage.
Mr. Carney, a former journalist at Time journal, joined Amazon in 2015 as its first senior vp of world affairs, combining public relations and authorities lobbying as the corporate confronted rising scrutiny. Mr. Carney fiercely protected Amazon’s picture and that of his boss, Jeff Bezos, one of many richest males on this planet.
Mr. Carney’s departure is certainly one of a number of adjustments atop Amazon a 12 months into the tenure of Andy Jassy, who succeeded Mr. Bezos as the corporate’s chief govt final July. Mr. Jassy, who beforehand constructed and ran Amazon’s cloud computing enterprise, is understood for his consideration and curiosity in particulars and has dug into components of the corporate which might be newly beneath his management.
Dave Clark, the architect of Amazon’s logistics enlargement, introduced final month that he was leaving earlier than a successor was named. John Felton, a transportation govt, changed Mr. Clark because the chief govt of Amazon’s retail and operations enterprise. Two of the corporate’s most senior Black executives, who have been Mr. Felton’s friends, additionally departed.
Mr. Jassy introduced Mr. Carney’s departure in an electronic mail to his senior management workforce, praising Mr. Carney for “his many vital accomplishments on behalf of Amazon’s clients and workers, for serving to us construct a powerful set of capabilities in Public Coverage and PR.” The New York Instances obtained the e-mail.
“Every thing about my time at Amazon has exceeded my expectations,” Mr. Carney mentioned in an electronic mail to his workforce on Friday, which was additionally obtained by The Instances. Mr. Carney didn’t present a remark when contacted on Thursday.
Amazon faces extra regulatory threats from governments around the globe now than at any time in its historical past. The Federal Commerce Fee, led by an Amazon critic, Lina Khan, is conducting a broad investigation into whether or not the corporate’s practices broke antitrust legislation. Lawmakers might also vote this 12 months on laws that will cease Amazon from prioritizing its personal merchandise, like batteries and trash baggage, over these offered by rivals in its on-line market.
Amazon’s public relations specialists and lobbyists have promoted the corporate as a signature employer and boon to native economies the place it operates. In 2018, the corporate introduced a minimal wage of $15 an hour, drawing reward from its frequent critic, Senator Bernie Sanders, unbiased of Vermont.
However Mr. Carney’s workforce received a black eye throughout Amazon’s seek for a second headquarters, when in 2018 it underestimated the progressive backlash it will face in doubtlessly constructing a serious presence in New York. Amazon finally reversed course and selected one other location.
Mr. Carney’s workforce additionally confronted criticism after an official Amazon Twitter account dismissed a congressman’s concern final 12 months that employees needed to urinate in bottles whereas on the job. The corporate apologized.
Extra just lately, Mr. Carney’s workforce has mounted a vigorous response to the antitrust laws, which Amazon has mentioned would make it troublesome to supply its signature quick transport of its Prime subscription service. The corporate spent roughly $9.1 million on federal lobbying in 2015. Final 12 months, it spent $19.3 billion.
Drew Herdener, who heads public relations beneath Mr. Carney, was promoted to senior vp on Thursday, based on 4 folks with information of the interior announcement. The communications workforce has grown from 10 folks to “a number of hundred,” Mr. Herdener mentioned in an interview final fall, including that Amazon had employed 200 communications professionals within the earlier 12 months alone.
As the corporate searches for a brand new head of world affairs, Mr. Herdener will report on to Mr. Jassy, and the coverage groups will report back to David Zapolsky, the final counsel, based on the e-mail.
Airbnb has been searching for its personal head of coverage and communications after Chris Lehane, a former aide to Invoice Clinton, left for a cryptocurrency enterprise capital fund earlier this 12 months.
Erin Griffith contributed reporting.