The Washington D.C. official tasked with luring Amazon’s prized second headquarters project will join the tech giant’s public policy team.
Brian Kenner is leaving his post as D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and taking a role with Amazon, the company confirmed Thursday.
As he did in the mayor’s office, Kenner will focus on economic development in his new role with Amazon. He starts next month, leaving a position he’s held with the mayor’s office since 2015.
Kenner spent more than a year leading Washington D.C.’s efforts to win “Amazon HQ2,” the 50,000-person second headquarters contest that the company launched in 2017. The project was ultimately split between New York City and Arlington, Va., a suburb of D.C. Amazon pulled out of New York amid backlash, leaving Arlington the de facto HQ2.
In September 2017 — three weeks after Amazon announced its HQ2 search — Kenner posted a photo with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to Twitter.
GeekWire caught up with Kenner last summer to discuss his efforts to land the project.
“We were pitching all that Washington D.C. and the Washington D.C. area has,” he said at the time. “One of the most highly educated workforces, our university system, the strength of our transportation network. Those are things that are common in our entire region so I know that there’s no other city or group of cities that … tried to think and talk in such a regional manner.”
The Washington Business Journal first reported on Kenner’s new role with Amazon.
Amazon’s core public policy team is located in D.C. and lobbies the federal government on a range of issues from shipping and aviation to taxes and immigration. Amazon’s lobbying budget has ballooned to record levels over the past few years.