Since September, Google has not had a Global Head of Policy following a reshuffle of the team responsible for managing relations with governments around the world. Today, after numerous candidates, Google confirmed that it hired Karan Bhatia of GE and previously the Bush Administration.
Last year, former Obama deputy national security adviser Caroline Atkinson stepped down from the management role as Global Head of Policy. Google noted that it was reorganizing the team to run it from the Mountain View headquarters under Google general counsel Kent Walker, rather than Washington, where Atkinson was located.
Before Bhatia’s hire from GE, first reported by Axios, the position was filled in an interim basis, while Google in the intervening months interviewed a number of candidates. Another Obama official and Hillary Clinton deputy chief of staff was rumored to be in the running earlier this year.
At GE, Bhatia served a similar role as President of Government Affairs and Policy function. His ten-year stint at the multinational conglomerate involved overseeing government affairs staff in 35 countries.
Google’s public affairs team is similarly spread-out around the globe and deals with issues ranging from the impact of artificial intelligence on job creation and infrastructure. It comes as Google is facing more scrutiny on its reach, while new technology going forward will disrupt many industries and the general workforce.
According to Axios, Bhatia previously worked at the Department of Commerce and Department of Transportation in the early 2000s, as well as a Deputy U.S. Trade Representative overseeing trade policy with Africa and Asia.
Google confirmed the hire, and Walker issued this statement:
We’re thrilled to hire someone with Karan’s impressive experience in global policy. He’s a widely respected leader who will work with our teams to advocate for policies that encourage growth and innovation.