Uber has snatched Google's Rachel Whetstone, the longtime head of its powerful public policy and communications unit. Rachel's new assignment (opens in new tab) at Uber will be basically the same – she will be the SVP of policy and communications.
On that position, she's succeeding David Plouffe, the high-profile former adviser to President Barack Obama, who was hired less than a year ago. He will become a chief adviser to the company and to CEO Travis Kalanick. He will also become a board member.
Funny thing is that Google is an investor in Uber although it is clear that it is also moving aggressively into the automotive market. Whether this a “merger” of sorts, or another sign of strained relations between the two giants, it is still too early to tell.
What we can say is that Whetstone will, most certainly, have a lot of work on her hands.
Uber’s life so far has been quite dynamic. On one hand it is a private company achieving an astonishing $50 billion (£31 billion) valuation. It is currently expanding globally and has ambitious plans, like adding driverless cars and mapping technology.
It has even been reported earlier that it’s bidding against much larger public companies like Facebook, Baidu, and BMW in the auction for Nokia's Here mapping service.
On the other hand, its (short) life has been streaked with controversy. There has been an accusation of rape by an Uber driver against a customer, the company has been banned in multiple countries and is locked in legal battles.