Amazon.com Inc. hired former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to head a new global corporate affairs department, consolidating the online retailer’s lobbying and public-relations efforts.
Carney, 49, served as White House Press Secretary for President Barack Obama for three years before resigning in May. He previously worked as a journalist. Carney will begin his new job on Monday, reporting directly to CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon said Thursday in a statement.
Seattle-based Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer, has faced regulatory and government hurdles as it works to expand its business. The company’s desire to deliver packages by unmanned aircraft, or drones, has hit obstacles at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which doesn’t want drones flown out of sight of operators or near crowds, citing safety concerns.
The company has also tussled with state governments about whether it should collect sales taxes on online purchases. Not collecting sales tax gave the company a significant price advantage over brick-and-mortar competitors such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Now, many states have closed those loopholes. About 70 percent of the U.S. population lives in states where Amazon collects sales tax.
Carney’s appointment was reported earlier by Politico.