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Snapchat Nabs Top Google Comms Exec Jill Hazelbaker to Run Its PR and Policy

Some big new guns for the ephemeral messaging service.

Snapchat, which has been conducting an extensive search for someone to lead its communications and policy efforts, has landed top Google communications and government relations exec Jill Hazelbaker.

Hazelbaker confirmed the move to Re/code and will be the person who will be responsible for managing the public image of the ephemeral mobile messaging startup. Currently in London — where she leads Google’s public relations and internal communications across Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as government relations for the European Union — Hazelbaker will move to Los Angeles and start work at Snapchat in mid-October.

“Very excited to join the team at Snapchat — and thankful for my years at Google,” she said in a brief email to me.

Before she went to Europe, Hazelbaker led corporate communications for the search giant, which is no stroll in the park. But her background is largely political — she managed the press operation for the re-election of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and was the national communications director for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign. (Both of these make the geek park at Google look like a paradise.)

Thus, Snapchat has hired itself a big gun, which should be an interesting development. The startup has been on a tear with consumers and has attracted big funding too. But it has also endured a number of difficult PR moments, including related to a recently settled battle among its founders and also to a series of distasteful emails sent by its CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel while a fraternity brother in college.

Hazelbaker is not the only new addition to Snapchat that it has not touted. The company also added Facebook veteran Sara Sperling as its new director of human resources in mid-August.

Sperling, who had worked at Facebook more than four years, built internal programs and community groups at the company, including Facebook’s engineering leadership program. As its head of diversity, she also created resource groups for minority employees, and was heavily involved in LGBT organizations and issues and worked to create Facebook’s Transgender & Gender Identity Policy. (Facebook added more than 50 new gender options on the social networking site in February.)

At Snapchat, Sperling will be responsible for internal support as the high-profile and well-funded startup grows. The company currently has only about 100 employees, but is clearly looking to expand. Just a month into her new post, Sperling’s specific responsibilities are still evolving, but she will handle areas such as new-hire orientation and, presumably, other employee-specific resource groups.

Snapchat has a recruiting team that actively seeks new talent and handles incoming applications, but it’s not clear whether Sperling will oversee those efforts. It’s more likely that Sperling will deal with culture and HR-related issues once employees are in the door.

This article originally appeared on

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