Veterans of Google's PR army now control the messaging at Silicon Valley's most important companies

Google SVP of communications and policy Rachel Whetsone is jumping ship to Uber, where she will oversee similar functions for the fast-growing ride-sharing company.

Whetstone’s move caught many by surprise. Google and Uber have become increasingly competitive. And Whetsone is a veteran Googler who has been with the Internet company since 2005.

But Whetsone’s move is just the latest — although one of the highest-profile — examples of Google’s redoubtable public relations army dispersing across Silicon Valley’s elite companies.

Veterans of the Google communications team now control the messaging, the spin and the access to executives at tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat ,and Yahoo among others.

Google’s vast size and the breadth of hot-button issues that touch its business everyday, from privacy to mobile technology, and from competition regulation to China, provide a veritable boot camp for modern business communications and policy that few other companies can match.

Here is a list of the Google PR vets who now craft the corporate narrative for Silicon Valley’s most influential firms, based on their LinkedIn profiles and on news reports.

  • Rachel Whetsone, SVP Policy and Communications at Uber. Time at Google: 2005 — 2015
  • Elliot Schrage, VP Global Communications and Public Policy at Facebook. Time at Google: 2005 — 2008
  • Gabriel Stricker, Chief Communications Officer, Twitter. Time at Google 2006 — 2012
  • Jill Hazelbaker, VP Communications and Public Policy at Snapchat. Time at Google: 2010 — 2014
  • Anne Espiritu, VP Global Public Relations at Yahoo. Time at Google: 2005 — 2012
  • Ricardo Reyes, Brand Lead, Square. Time at Google: 2006 — 2009
  • Barry Schnitt, Head of Communications at Pinterest. Time at Google: 2000 — 2012
  • Aaron Zamost, Head of Communications at Square. Time at Google: 2007 — 2011
  • Andrew Kovacs, Head of Communications at Sequoia Capital. Time at Google: 2006 — 2012
  • Larry Yu, Marketing Partner, Accel Partners. Time at Google: 2007 — 2008
  • Erin Gleason, Director of Communications, Founders Fund. Time at Google: 2005 — 2010

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