Airbnb bolsters legal division with new hires ahead of IPO

United States: Airbnb has hired several lawyers, formerly of the legal division of the technology company Poly, in preparation for the IPO of the company [IPO] Later this year.

He hired Mary Huser as general counsel for risk and regulation, Iris Chen as assistant general counsel for products, and Miko Ando Brown as associate general counsel for trust and safety.

The company previously cut its legal department sharply in the round of 25% layoffs carried out in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Key changes include the departure of Robert Chestnut, former assistant general counsel and chief ethics officer, and Renée Lawson, another assistant general counsel for litigation.

Another significant departure was trust vice president Margaret Richardson, who previously worked on the company’s policy, security and standards teams. Her prior involvement with former United States Attorney General Eric Holder helped her create Airbnb’s anti-discrimination policy.

Airbnb’s legal efforts have become more pronounced recently, as its lobbying and litigation wings have both been active. While Airbnb has settled many high-profile lawsuits with cities like New York and Boston, the total number of lawsuits the company has faced in the United States has increased significantly since 2018.

Airbnb is rumored to be aiming to raise $3 billion in a December IPO. It seeks to strengthen its relations with many cities, settling important lawsuits, in anticipation of this development.

The three main new hires have significant experience supporting the legal needs of technology companies. Chen previously worked with Google in its intellectual property division for 14 years, while Huser worked as in-house legal counsel with Blackberry and eBay.

The recruits were also noted for their efforts to improve diversity in the legal industry. Brown has launched a series of lectures focused on women in leadership positions, Chen is a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, while Huser is a known advocate for inclusion.

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