Alphabet Inc ’s former communications head, Rachel Whetstone, who joined Uber recently, appears to have hired one more of Internet firms employee – Niki Christoff, says a report from BI. Last week, there were reports that more than a dozen employees on Uber’s communications and policy team have been laid off by Whetstone.
Losing talent to Uber
Christoff served Alphabet (then Google) for eight years, where she headed the firms East Coast media team, and supervised press appearances former Google CEO Eric Schmidt made. Christoff, who worked for Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, has also worked as a litigator in DC.
Christoff has been hired as Uber’s Director of Public Policy, Federal Affairs, and Communications. She is not the first Googlite to join Uber. Whetstone joined Uber in May as its Senior VP of Policy and Communications. She worked with Alphabet since 2005, and before that she worked with the British govt.
In October, she hired Jill Hazelbaker, a former Google employee who left for Snapchat and served it for a year. Whetstone hired her as VP of Communications and Policy at Uber. Similar to Christoff, Hazelbaker too has a background in politics as she was part of Google’s European Communication team.
Employees from departments other than communications too have left Alphabet Inc to join Uber. Manik Gupta, who worked as the director of product management most recently, joined Uber last month as the director of its Maps product. Gupta has seven years’ experience of working on Google Maps.
Self-driving taxis: Alphabet vs. Uber
Uber may be hiring Alphabet employees, but the latter may have much bigger plans i.e. to take on Uber head on. Owning a fully autonomous car will remain a dream for a few more years, but the race to develop the best technology has already begun. Google wants to spin off its self-driving unit as its own self-driving firm under the umbrella of Alphabet, says a recent report from Bloomberg.
And, this means that the firm will need to generate revenue and that could mean Uber-like ride-hailing service. The report says that the firm plans of starting small by using its autonomous fleet in smaller areas like corporate office parks, military bases and college campuses. This is a smart move as it will help the search giant get additional miles under its belt before it finally rolls out its self-driving cars onto city streets.
At 10.06am EDT, Alphabet Inc shares were up 0.09% at $770.53. Year to date, the stock is up over 45% while in the last one-month, it is up over 1%.