Airbnb hires former Clinton White House aide Chris Lehane

By Amy R. Connolly

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Airbnb hired Chris Lehane, a Washington insider and top Clinton White House advisor, as head of global public policy, the company announced Thursday.

Lehane, a former campaign aide to President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore's press secretary, will focus on turning Airbnb users into "advocates for the right to home share" as the company, which connects short-term renters with homes, expands beyond the current 190 countries.


"Chris will be directing our work with policymakers and our efforts to educate more people, organizations and stakeholders about Airbnb and the right to share your home," said Belinda Johnson with Airbnb. "Chris and his team will also help organize our hosts and ensure their voices are heard loud and clear by policymakers who are learning more about Airbnb."

The San Francisco-based company, valued at about $24 billion, is aimed at helping people rent their extra rooms for additional income. As it grows in popularity, it has faced regulatory hurdles in cities that include New York and a growing concern about safety, taxation and labor policies.

Lehane is earliest known for leading the Clinton White House through a number of scandals in the 1990s. More recently, he worked on AT&T's merger with DirecTV and is a trusted advisor on issues related to taxes and climate change legislation.


Lehane is one of several high-profile political insiders ditching Washington for West Coast technology companies. In February, Jay Carney, President Obama's former press secretary, was hired by Amazon. A year ago, Uber snatched up David Plouffe, one of Obama's top advisors, to be the company's senior vice president of policy and strategy.

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