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Former Obama Advisor Named Policy Head at Google

Jan. 13, 2016, 11:31 PM

As European privacy and antitrust regulators increase pressure against the technology company, Google is turning to former Obama Administration advisor Caroline Atkinson to head its global policy team.

Atkinson, who holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and the U.K., served in the Obama Administration as Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs from 2011 to 2013, and has served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics since then.

Atkinson takes over the policy team at a time when Google — along with other technology giants, like Facebook — has come under scrutiny from European regulators concerned with competition and privacy.

The European Commission outlined its antitrust objections to Google’s shopping service in April , for example, and regulators have questioned the company’s handling of “right to be forgotten” requests — the right of EU citizens to have outdated information about them removed from the web.

European lawmakers have also expressed concern over the company’s tax reduction techniques .

These issues will likely be primary concerns on day one for Atkinson, who will be reporting to the General Counsel. Atkinson is replacing Rachel Whetstone, who announced she was leaving Google for car-sharing service Uber in May.

“Caroline’s an internationally respected diplomat and adviser, and we’re delighted to have such a thoughtful leader heading our global policy team,” Google GC Kent Walker said in a statement.

Before joining the Obama Administration, Atkinson was a senior executive at the International Monetary Fund. She began her career as a journalist for the Washington Post, the Economist, and the Times of London. She starts at Google in March.

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