Airbnb poaches Brazilian Facebook executive in Olympic push

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Online home-rental marketplace Airbnb Inc hired Facebook Inc’s most senior executive in Brazil to lead its expansion in the country as an official provider of accommodations for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Leonardo Tristão will take over as country manager of Brazil at Airbnb starting on July 30, the company said in a statement on Monday. He will step down as general director in Brazil for Facebook FB.O, where he started in 2011 after six years at Google Inc GOOGL.O.

Facebook confirmed Tristão’s departure but did not respond to questions about a successor.

Airbnb landed an official contract in March to provide at least 20,000 rooms for the Olympics in Rio next year. Earlier this month, its website started accepting Brazilian credit cards, expanding its audience from foreign tourists to domestic travel.

Tristão will take over at Airbnb from Christian Gessner, the company’s first hire in Latin America, who is leaving after four years to spend more time with his infant son, according to the company’s statement.

Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Steve Orlofsky