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Former Uber comms head Rachel Whetstone is jumping to Facebook

Whetstone has held top PR and policy jobs at the car-hailing company and also at Google.

Longtime PR pro Rachel Whetstone rides over to Facebook

Rachel Whetstone, who recently left her job as top public relations and policy exec at Uber, is joining the communications team at Facebook in a newly created role as VP of comms of its WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger products.

Whetstone, who previously worked at Google at the top of its comms and policy unit, will report to Facebook’s VP of global communications Caryn Marooney. Current comms leaders at Instagram and Messenger will continue to lead their teams and get guidance from Whetstone, who will primarily focus on WhatsApp. She will start in September.

Facebook approached Whetstone after she left Uber in April. At the time, Recode reported on growing turbulence between her and then CEO Travis Kalanick, who was later ousted:

Sources close to the car-hailing company said that the decision to leave was multi-faceted, including Whetstone’s lack of appetite for even more drama after running comms at Google for many years before her stint at Uber.

In an email to her staff, Whetstone referenced that drama, talking about “always-on jobs” that are exciting yet exhausting, too.

There has been some recent tension between her and Kalanick, with some investors blaming bad press for Uber’s woes (wrong!), although sources said that was expected given all the controversies at the company of late.

(Facebook will be — how shall we put it — a car of a much different color than Uber, which is to say it is a functional organization.)

The tough-talking Whetstone was a big hire for Uber when she replaced the previous big hire, Obama political guru David Plouffe, in mid-2015. Interestingly, while Plouffe still is an Uber board observer, he also now works for Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, running the policy and advocacy arm of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative philanthropy.

Before Uber, Whetstone headed Google’s shop, taking over for Elliot Schrage, who went to Facebook to head all its comms and policy. Before that she had worked in politics in Britain.

At Google, she had her hands full with the European Union’s battle with the search giant over limiting the power of its services. But she also had a number of victories at Google, including fighting back against similar search power inquiries by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

In a statement about her new job at Facebook, Whetstone said: “It's a real privilege to be joining the Facebook family. Products like WhatsApp have become an important part of my life — making it so much easier to stay in touch with my own family and friends.”

“We are thrilled Rachel will be joining us — she brings unique insight and leadership to an already world-class team,” added Marooney. “We’re excited to work with and learn from Rachel as we manage some of the world's most interesting communications opportunities.”

This article originally appeared on

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