Jul 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Jay Carney to join Airbnb

Jay Carney

Jay Carney. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Jay Carney, who was White House press secretary under President Obama, will move from Amazon to Airbnb as global head of policy and communications.

Why it matters: Carney — as Amazon's SVP of global corporate affairs, and one of the closest advisers to founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos — is among the nation's most powerful and prominent tech executives.

Carney, 57, was a TIME magazine Moscow correspondent and later Washington bureau chief, before joining the Obama administration.

  • He'll start at Airbnb in September and will be based in Washington, D.C.
  • He succeeds Chris Lehane, who joined a crypto venture-capital fund earlier this year.

Airbnb, the 15-year-old global hosting pioneer, said the big goal for Carney, who will report to co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, is to "ensure that as Airbnb grows, we strengthen the communities we are in."

  • "Jay has worked at the highest levels of both government and technology," Chesky says in the announcement. "When you combine that with the two decades he spent on the ground as a journalist, he brings a deep understanding of the needs of multiple stakeholders."
  • "Jay is also a passionate advocate for community engagement, and is committed to ensuring that Airbnb is a force for good."

During seven years at Amazon, Carney built and ran the company's Global Corporate Affairs organization and directed community investments — including disaster response, humanitarian relief for Ukrainian refugees and education programs for children and young adults from underrepresented communities.

  • Before taking the podium job for Obama, Carney was communications director for then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Carney says in the release: "The potential for travel to promote economic and social good has never been greater ... I’m thrilled to be joining Airbnb to help guide its work to connect communities and people through travel."

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