Global online rental company Airbnb has appointed Zimbabwean Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert James Manyika to its board, recognising his expertise in AI and its impact on society.

Manyika, currently a senior vice president at Google, holds two master’s degrees and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics from the University of Zimbabwe and Oxford University. Airbnb confirmed his appointment, with CEO Brian Chesky stating that Manyika had been advising the company since 2018. Chesky said in a statement:

"He’s dedicated his career to exploring technology’s impact on society, and is one of the world’s leading experts in AI. He started advising Airbnb in 2018 and has been an essential thought partner to me for years.

It’s inevitable that AI will reshape society and have a profound impact on our business. With James joining our Board, we’ll continue to benefit from his guidance as we embark on the dawn of this new technological revolution."

On his appointment, Manyika, who will also chair the Board’s stakeholder committee, expressed his inspiration by Airbnb’s ability to bring people and cultures together globally. He said:

"At such a critical point of inflexion for technology and society, I’m inspired by the ways Airbnb has bridged people and cultures all around the world.

I’m honoured to join the Board of Directors and look forward to working together with the entire Airbnb team to build for the future in a way that benefits hosts, guests and communities everywhere."

Currently, Manyika holds the position of Senior Vice President of Research, Technology, and Society at Google. Prior to joining Google, he had an extensive career at McKinsey spanning nearly three decades. At McKinsey, Manyika led the distinguished McKinsey Global Institute’s research on technology, the economy, and major global trends. He was also involved in researching global economic and technology trends and provided strategic guidance to leading high-tech companies on growth and innovation.

Manyika’s involvement extends beyond his work at Google and McKinsey. He serves on the board of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University and is an advisor on various advisory boards at prestigious institutions such as the University of Oxford, MIT, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Stanford University.