Snapchat snags Google PR exec Jill Hazelbaker

Snapchat, the mobile messaging app that’s risen to social media prominence, has hired a former Google communications executive and political campaign press veteran to run its PR operations.

London-based Jill Hazelbaker will join Snapchat to lead its communications and policy efforts, tech news site Re/code first reported Monday, as the Southern California startup continues to add users, expand its business and battle the Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations and misleading consumers. Snapchat, which allows users to send text, photos and media in messages that self-delete within a few seconds after viewing, has grown five-fold within the last five months. Hazelbaker is one of its most high-profile hires, following the appointment of Facebook veteran Sara Sperling, who became Snapchat’s new director of human resources in August.

Hazelbaker is in London leading Google’s public relations and internal communications across Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as government relations for the European Union, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also ran the PR for two notable political campaigns: Michael Bloomberg’s New York mayoral campaign in 2009 and Sen. John McCain’s presidential run, for which Hazelbaker served as national communications director from 2007 to 2008.

Despite its PR hiccups and battles with government regulators, Snapchat has been one of the hottest social media companies of the last year, posing an ever-growing threat to Facebook and other chat services. After Snapchat turned down an offer from Facebook to buy it for $3 billion, the Menlo Park social media giant bought competing messaging app WhatsApp for $16 billion, a record acquisition.

CEO Evan Spiegel says over 400 million “snaps”are shared each day — surpassing both Facebook and Instagram.

Snapchat in July landed an investment from Chinese Internet behemoth Alibaba that values the startup at $10 billion — a valuation that is surpassed only by Uber. Among venture-backed U.S. companies, Snapchat now shares second place for most-valued companies, joined by Airbnb and Dropbox.

 

Photo of Jill Hazelbaker from LinkedIn

 

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