Lockhart Leaving Facebook
October 6, 2012

Ex-Clinton Press Secretary Lockhart Leaving Facebook

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online

Former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart is stepping down as Facebook's VP of Communications, citing a desire to spend more time on the east coast, various media outlets reported Friday.

Lockhart, who served in Washington under President Bill Clinton's administration during his second term, had spent 15 months of the job, living in the eastern U.S. and frequently commuting to the social network's California headquarters, said CNET staff writer Donna Tam. He will reportedly remain with the company as a consultant.

Lockhart's departure from his full-time position was confirmed to CNET by a Facebook spokeswoman, who cited Lockhart's "desire to remain on the East Coast" as the primary reason. However, in light of other recent departures from the company -- including former head of platform partnerships Ethan Beard and former director of platform marketing Katie Mitic in August -- some experts are claiming that there may be other underlying reasons.

"Maybe it has a little something to do with the company's recent not-so-great IPO? Just a theory," Rebecca Greenfield of The Atlantic Wire theorized in an October 5 article.

"Since the social network's public offering in May, in which shares dropped from an opening $38 to $21 today, three executives have left the company," she added. "Back when Facebook hired him, Lockhart didn't seem to have a problem with moving, saying he planned a Bay Area relocation after his daughter graduated high school."

Regarding the popular social network's stock issues, Potential Trader's Crystal Barker said that while Facebook is currently ahead of its 52-week low by 25.06%, they are also trailing their 52-week high price by more than 50%.

"His departure comes as Facebook struggles with its new status as a public company," Tam noted. "Facebook's move last year to hire someone of Lockhart's caliber was the social network's way of showing the business world it was a serious company, and having an executive with political ties and experience would obviously also help the company make inroads in D.C."