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Uber Nabs Snapchat Communications Head Hazelbaker for Key Policy and PR Role

A big political gun for a big political fight.

Jill Hazelbaker, the high-profile Google communications and government relations exec poached just one year ago by Snapchat to be its PR and policy head, has now been nabbed by Uber.

When she arrives next month, she will have the title of VP of communications and public policy for the fast-growing San Francisco transportation company and also have global corporate and product communications responsibility. Hazelbaker will report to Uber’s top comms and policy exec Rachel Whetstone, whom she worked for at Google.

Whetstone was hired by Uber from the top comms and policy job at the search giant in May.

The move seems to be prompted by the more intense politics and policy issues at Uber, which has had to deal with a thorny thicket of regulatory challenges and brutal legal battles with the taxi industry in its effort to operate across the globe. Hazelbaker has a deep political background, having worked as national communications director for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain and also managed the press operations for the re-election campaign of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

At Google, Hazelbaker had a number of jobs including her last one, heading public relations and internal communications across Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as government relations for the European Union.

“Jill has a unique blend of campaigning, storytelling and leadership capabilities which will be invaluable to Uber,” said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. “I’m personally looking forward to working with her, and know our team is incredibly excited to have her on board.”

Uber has dipped into girding itself in the political sector before with varying degrees of success. It hired high-profile Obama administration operative David Plouffe in the top comms and policy role in 2014, but he was replaced by Whetstone and is now a “chief adviser” to Kalanick.

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