Ron Klain, former White House chief of staff for President Joe Biden, is joining Airbnb as chief legal officer, the company announced Monday.
Mr. Klain, 62, served as President Biden’s chief of staff during the first two years of his administration. Prior to that, the Democratic staffer held the same position for Vice President Al Gore and President Biden when he was vice president during the Obama administration.
Mr. Klain will step into the new role at the start of next year. He will report to Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky.
“People have described Ron as one of the smartest people they’ve ever met, but more than his intelligence, he’s known for his excellent judgment and his big heart. Ron is the perfect addition to our team.”
Mr. Klain most recently was a partner at the global law firm O’Melveny & Myers since April, following his departure from the White House earlier this year. He was previously a partner at the firm from 1999-2004. The Los Angeles-founded firm has about 800 lawyers globally.
“I was proud to rejoin O’Melveny & Myers earlier this year and work with outstanding colleagues and clients, and I had planned to finish my career there, but the opportunity to work for Brian [Chesky] and join his incredible executive team was impossible to pass up,” Mr. Klain wrote in a statement.
Mr. Klain said he has “always believed that travel is such an important part of creating connection and cultural understanding,” expressing his honor at joining the property rental company.
O'Melveny chair Bradley Butwin said in a statement that the firm appreciates Mr. Klain’s contributions and will continue to work closely with him as a client.
Mr. Klain previously held the position of chief legal officer at Revolution, a venture capital firm established by AOL co-founder Steve Case.
He will succeed Rich Baer, who joined Airbnb as legal chief in 2019 and announced his retirement last month, according to a company spokesperson.
Mr. Klain isn’t the first federal government official to make the move to the San Francisco-based online rental site.
In September 2022, Airbnb appointed Jay Carney as global head of policy and communications. Mr. Carney served as White House press secretary to President Barack Obama and communications director to Biden when he was vice president before moving to Amazon.
Mr. Klain’s addition to Airbnb’s team highlights the company’s bid to enhance its legal expertise as it continues navigating the complexities of the global market.
Cities around the United States and globally are more closely regulating short-term rentals, including requiring hosts to obtain licenses and pay registration fees or limiting rentals in business districts.
As a way of an example, a New York judge in August dismissed a June lawsuit Airbnb had filed against New York City over legislation the company called a “de facto ban” against short-term rentals. The law took effect in September. The judge cited data that the city had received nearly 12,000 complaints about short-term rentals from 2017 to 2021.