Amazon Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs James Carney speaks with European Union officials on February 1, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
Thierry Mons | Corbis News | Getty Images
Airbnb has selected Jay Carney, an Amazon spokesperson, to serve as its new head of policy and communications.
The company said Friday that Carney will begin work at Airbnb in September, and will report to CEO Brian Chesky. It will be based in Washington, DC
Carney joined Amazon in 2015 after serving as the White House press secretary under President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he spent 20 years as a political journalist for Time magazine.
As head of public policy and communications at Amazon, Carney quickly gained prominence within the company. He was part of Jeff Bezos’ Elite S team and remained there when Andy Gacy took over as CEO last year. One of Carney’s primary jobs was to help direct Amazon’s relationships with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
For Jassy, the move marks the latest high-profile exit at a time when the company faces a host of challenges, from high inflation and internal labor conflict to regulatory battles in the United States and Europe. In June, 23-year-old Amazon veteran Dave Clark resigned as head of retail. Two high-profile black leaders — chief operating officer Dave Bozeman and Alicia Puller-Davies, senior vice president of global customer fulfillment — also announced their departures in June.
Carney has overseen a large number of Amazon’s public relations staff, which often means taking the lead in the company’s response to external scrutiny, particularly during the Trump administration, which has been a frequent critic of Amazon. He played a central role in the company’s ill-fated negotiations to establish a second corporate headquarters in Long Island City.
“Jay has worked at the highest levels in both government and technology, serving as a strategic advisor to the president, and at one of the largest technology companies in the world,” Chesky said in a statement. “When you combine that with his two decades on the ground as a journalist, it brings a deep understanding of the needs of multiple stakeholders.”
In a memo to Amazon employees obtained by CNBC, Carney said his time at Amazon “exceeded my expectations,” and noted that the teams he runs are “in very good hands.”
“Together, you will continue to make Amazon a company that does big, positive things for its customers, employees, and communities around the world,” Carney wrote.
CNBC also saw a note Jassy sent to employees announcing Carney’s departure. In the memo, he told employees that the company would “immediately begin searching” for a replacement for Carney.
Here’s Gacy’s note:
I wanted to tell you that Jay Carney, who has managed global corporate affairs for the past seven years, decided to leave Amazon at the end of August to pursue other opportunities.
Since joining the company in 2015, Jay has expanded and led public policy and public relations teams across all of our businesses and geographies with the overarching goal of ensuring that policy makers, reporters, and customers are accurately informed about Amazon’s contributions to economic growth and employment. Creativity, innovation and sustainability – plus our unparalleled focus on customers. Over the years, Jay has frequently represented Amazon in meetings with heads of state and government and other top leaders around the world. He also launched and oversaw Amazon in the Community, the first company-wide organization dedicated to community engagement and philanthropy. Jay came to Amazon after spending five and a half years in the Obama White House. Prior to that, she worked as a journalist for more than two decades. Please join me in thanking Jay for his many significant accomplishments on behalf of Amazon customers and employees, for helping us build a strong set of capabilities in public policy and public relations, and to wish him well in his future endeavours.
We’ll start looking for a replacement Jay right away. Meanwhile, Brian Hausmann, Susan Poynter, and Michael Bunke will report to David Zapolsky, and Drew Herdener will report to me.
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