Uber, the sleek mobile transportation network that has been giving the traditional taxi cab industry fits, has just picked off former Obama campaign guru and White House adviser David Plouffe as its new senior vice president for policy and strategy.
The San Francisco-based Uber has elbowed its way into dozens of cities across the globe by linking passengers and drivers through mobile apps or text messages, while clashing with regulators and rivals for a larger share of the market.
Now Uber’s drive to take on major cab companies has reached a new level with its announcement that Plouffe is coming aboard to help burnish the brash start-up’s global brand, according to The Washington Post and other media reports. Plouffe will join the company next month.
“Uber has the chance to be a once in a decade if not a once in a generation company,” Plouffe declared in a blog post on Uber's website. “Of course, that poses a threat to some, and I’ve watched as the taxi industry cartel has tried to stand in the way of technology and big change.”
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told reporters Tuesday that the hiring marked “a big day for Uber” that had been six months in the making, according to The Washington Post.
Kalanick told Politico in an interview that his company is “trying to win hearts and minds” and that Uber is posing a challenge to “the big-taxi cartel.”
Plouffe, 47, broke into politics while working on the campaigns of Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and other Democratic lawmakers. He emerged as campaign manager for Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign and was widely credited with developing the overall strategy to defeat Hillary Clinton in the hard-fought and prolonged Democratic primary contest.
After the election, he advised Obama from outside the White House, but then joined the White House staff as a senior adviser to the president in 2011 following the departure of David Axelrod, who left to launch Obama’s reelection campaign.
Plouffe insisted Tuesday that assuming control of Uber’s policy arm doesn’t mean he will be “micromanaging fights over regulation,” according to The Post. “A good presidential campaign is not headquarters first,” he said. “A good presidential campaign is that the headquarters supports the battleground states — the Iowas, the Virginias, the Ohios. We’re here to provide assistance to the local teams.”
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