Uber taxi-hailing app has tapped David Plouffe, campaign mastermind of Barack Obama's two presidential wins, in its continued effort to bolster its image and hurdle regulatory roadblocks.
CEO Travis Kalanick, in an Aug. 20 conference call, likened Uber's growth and development to a political campaign in which the taxi industry is the entrenched incumbent.
Uber faces a transportation "cartel" that presents stiff resistance to the four-year-old company's expansion efforts.
Kalanick called Plouffe, who will take the senior VP post when he joins in September, a "strategic thought partner and a brilliant general."
The 47-year-old will be responsible for communications, global policy and branding at the San Francisco-based company that is backed by Google Ventures, Menlo, Benchmark, Lowercase Capital and Goldman Sachs.
Political experience is in-line with Uber's previous PR hires. Political consultant Lane Kasselman joined Uber in March to head Americas communications, while Glover Park veteran and former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee policy director Nairi Hourdaijian has led global communications since June 2013.
Robert Werth, president of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Assn., rapped Uber's hiring of Plouffe for a new political campaign.
“Uber loves to portray itself as a plucky little tech startup fighting against an imaginary Goliath. But look who just bought themselves one of the best spin doctors in the country. As deceitful as Uber is, they are going to need him," said Werth.
Since leaving the White House following the 2012, Plouffe took a contributor slot at Bloomberg.