Rachel Whetstone: Power List 2015

SVP, policy and communications, Uber

2015 rank: 20
2014 rank: NA

By Elliot Schrage, VP, communications and public policy, Facebook

The response from Google HQ was short and sweet. In a blog post titled "Really, Rupert?" Rachel Whetstone summarized Google’s reaction with an animated GIF of a laughing baby – before dismissing claims made by The Wall Street Journal with a point-by-point rebuttal.

This was classic Rachel – demonstrating impact and flair in reshaping how people discuss technology and policy. When I joined Google in 2005 to lead communications and public affairs, we had about 20 employees and few of the functions necessary for the scale of Google’s global challenges. We needed smart, scrappy leaders to build something special, and fast.

Rachel was the first person I hired: She possessed all those qualities, with originality, energy, and directness. Her strategic insight, stemming from her political background, challenged rather than reinforced conventional wisdom.

Rachel’s leadership blended marketing, policy, and PR to create seamless campaigns. She has great intuition but insisted data inform decisions. Rachel knew how to identify, develop, and deploy talent. From where I sit, she’s gotten even better.

Rachel is a fantastic partner who became a great friend – and now a friendly rival. She could have stayed at Google forever but Rachel seeks out challenges, so I’m not surprised she chose Uber as her next adventure. I would be surprised only if she wasn’t continuing to reshape comms and policy for a world- class tech organization.

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