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Google taps GE vet to run policy amid increased government scrutiny

GE’s Karan Bhatia joins Google at an interesting time.

Google's new global head of policy, Karan Bhatia.

Google's new global head of policy, Karan Bhatia.

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Google has hired Karan Bhatia, former president of GE's government affairs and policy function, as its new global head of policy, according to Axios.

Prior to GE, Bhatia oversaw US international trade policies with Asia and Africa as a deputy representative under the Bush administration, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also worked in the Aviation and International Affairs division of the Transportation Department and served as deputy undersecretary for industry and security for the Commerce Department.

The appointment comes as Google has been dealing in recent years with increased scrutiny at home and abroad. With the Trump administration's ongoing trade war, Congress members have accused the tech powerhouse of risking US security by partnering with Chinese telecommunication company Huawei. And last month, amid international debates over how AI should be used, workers at Google reportedly pressured the company not to renew a contract with the Pentagon and to craft guidelines prohibiting the use of Google AI tech in weaponry.

Bhatia will be tasked with managing these issues and more at Google, as the company continues its global growth and its work on various AI projects.

"We're thrilled to hire someone with Karan's impressive experience in global policy," said Kent Walker, global affairs and chief legal officer at Google, said in an emailed statement. "He's a widely respected leader who will work with our teams to advocate for policies that encourage growth and innovation."

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