Snapchat hires White House staffer

Snapchat has hired White House aide Rachel Racusen as its new director of communications.
(Carl Court / Getty Images)
The Washington Post

The Obamaworld-social media industry mind meld continues: White House strategic communications advisor Rachel Racusen is leaving to join Snapchat as director of communications, based in New York City.

Racusen, who has done two stints in the White House communications office (working at MSNBC in between), finished up her duties at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on Tuesday and will start her new job Sept. 19.

Over the last year, Racusen has focused on projects aimed at capturing the president’s legacy, from the economy to the environment. Before first joining the White House staff in May 2013, Racusen served as director of public affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency for two years and as deputy national communications director for Obama’s reelection campaign.

In her new post, Racusen will lead development of communications strategies for global content and crisis communications as well as Snapchat’s partnerships with media companies that create content for its Discover feature. Snapchat has a large content creation and advertising team in New York, with plans to employ as many as 400 people there within the next few years.

Snapchat spokesman Shannon Kelly wrote in an email that the company is “excited to have her on board,” but declined to provide additional details about her role.


Racusen’s hire comes about a year after Snapchat lost communications chief Jill Hazelbaker to Uber. Hazelbaker also had previous political experience, serving as national communications director for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign.

Racusen joins a long line of Obama veterans who have found jobs in the tech sector after working for the government, including former Press Secretary Jay Carney (Amazon) and former senior advisors Dan Pfeiffer (GoFundMe) and David Plouffe (Uber). And Snapchat is a popular White House presence already: Michelle Obama joined the platform in June, about a month after she and the president welcomed Snapchat Chief Executive Evan Spiegel and his now-fiancee, Miranda Kerr, to a state dinner for Nordic leaders.

Eilperin writes for the Washington Post.

Times staff writer Paresh Dave contributed to this report.