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Airbnb Hires Longtime Amazon Executive Who Ran AmazonSmile Charitable Giving Program

Ian McAllister, a nine-year veteran of Amazon, is Airbnb's first director of product for service excellence.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Airbnb has hired Ian McAllister, a nine-year veteran of Amazon who most recently led the online retailer’s AmazonSmile donation program. McAllister is joining Airbnb as director of product for service excellence, where he will oversee the teams responsible for creating software tools for Airbnb’s customer service staff as well as the hosts who use the service to rent out their homes.

In an interview, McAllister said he has long been infatuated with Airbnb, because he uses the service often and because his mother ran a bed-and-breakfast when he was growing up. But he said he was most excited about joining the company to mentor young product managers and help shape how products are made at a fast-growing company.

“I have the chance to have a really big and strategic impact,” McAllister said.

He will report to Airbnb’s product chief, Joe Zadeh, and will work with him on “injecting the feedback [customer service teams] gather directly into the product development cycle.”

At Amazon, McAllister was the brains behind, and general manager of, AmazonSmile, a two-year-old program that lets shoppers direct 0.5 percent of their order totals to a charity of their choice. The program’s principal product manager, Sachin Shah, has replaced McAllister as GM of AmazonSmile.

McAllister previously ran Amazon’s wish list and registry businesses, and has also spent time at Microsoft. He’ll be splitting his time between Seattle and San Francisco, where Airbnb has its headquarters.

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