Former Obama Strategist Shifts to Uber Advisory Role, Joins Board

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Uber Technologies Inc. said David Plouffe, the mobile car-hailing application’s head of communications, is shifting to an advisory role and joining the company’s board.

Plouffe, a former adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama, will serve as an adviser to the company and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, according to Nairi Hourdajian, a spokeswoman at Uber. Plouffe joined Uber less than a year ago as senior vice president of policy and strategy. Google Inc. executive Rachel Whetstone will become senior vice president of policy and communications at Uber.

Uber is adding to its executive bench as it grows quickly - - and runs into protests and regulatory hurdles in the process. The company has been taking on opponents in the taxi industry and in governments worldwide as it disrupts the transportation business with its technology, which lets people bypass taxis by summoning rides from their smartphones.

San Francisco-based Uber plans to raise $1.5 billion in a new funding round that will boost the startup’s valuation to $50 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said last week. Uber, which was valued at $40 billion when it raised financing earlier this year, is benefiting as investors view its technology as the future of transport. The company is using the cash to expand operations to cities across the globe.

Plouffe’s new title is chief adviser, a full-time role, Hourdajian said. The executive changes were reported earlier by technology news website Re/code.

Gina Scigliano, a spokeswoman at Google, said Jessica Powell will become the interim leader of the company’s communications group following Whetstone’s departure. Her move follows other exits from the Google communications team for high-profile startups, including Jill Hazelbaker, who left last year to join Snapchat Inc., the mobile app for sending messages that quickly disappear.

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