Joe Lockhart, vice president of global communications at Facebook, will be leaving the company, it was reported by numerous sources on Friday. The exact date or his departure is unknown at this time.
According to Reuters, the split between Lockhart and Facebook is amicable and is due to Lockhart not wanting to move across the country. Facebook is headquartered in Menlo Park, California. Lockhart may continue to work with Facebook as an independent consultant.
Lockhart joined Facebook in June of last year. Prior to that, he had numerous years of experience in politics.
He was press secretary for the 1984 presidential campaign of Walter Mondale, then worked for Illinois Senator Paul Simon. He was a member of the 1996 campaign to re-elect Bill Clinton, serving as the campaign spokesman. After Clinton was reelected, he was named Deputy Press Secretary. Lockhart became Press Secretary in October 1998.
Lockhart also co-founded the consulting firm Glover Park Group, becoming its Managing Director.
Facebook’s other departing members
Lockhart is not the first Facebook employee to leave the company this year.
In June, Chief Technology Officer Bret Taylor announced that he would be leaving Facebook to start his own company with Google engineer Kevin Gibbs.
In a statement, Zuckerberg called Taylor “a friend and teammate” and said that he was “grateful for all he has done for Facebook and I’m proud of what he and his teams have built.”
On August 1st, three members of the Facebook team all announced that they would be leaving.
“Saying goodbye is always hard but I'm looking forward to taking some time off to recharge and re-energize before starting a new venture of my own,” Ethan Beard, director of platform partnerships wrote on his Facebook wall, before thanking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and COO Sheryl Sandberg.
“After an amazing two years at Facebook, it's time to start my next entrepreneurial adventure. I am going to miss Facebook tremendously. I’m so grateful to have met, learned from and worked with the incredible people here - thank you! There will be a little bit of each of you in my mobile startup in Palo Alto ;),” platform marketing director Katie Mitic posted on her wall.
“Thank you, to all of the good people at Facebook. You are real friends and I will forever look back at this time with great pride and appreciation. I have immense appreciation for the Facebook mission and the impact that this organization is delivering every day and will continue delivering in the future,” mobile platform marketing manager Jonathan Matus wrote on his Facebook.
Facebook’s uncertain future
Facebook has had a rocky year, after its disappointing IPO in May. Though the company has tried hard to get back on its feet, the outlook is still bleak according to some.
In September, Andrew Bary wrote an article for financial magazine Barron’s, entitled Still Too Pricey, in which he slammed Facebook’s business model and Mark Zuckerberg, along with pricing the social giant's shares at $15.
"Is the stock a buy? The short answer is 'No,'" Bary wrote in his article. "What are the shares worth? Perhaps only $15. That would be roughly 24 times projected 2013 profit and six times estimated 2013 revenue of $6 billion, still no bargain price.”
Bary even went after Mark Zuckerberg, citing the fact that he said he wanted to compensate his employees with shares instead of cash, giving them more shares as the stock declines, as evidence of his “cavalier attitude.”
On Friday, after Zynga released a statement Thursday saying that it was lowering its outlook based on disappointing preliminary third-quarter results, JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth declared that he had lowered his estimates for Facebook’s payments revenue in 2013 to $582 million from $797 million, based on how much of its revenue will come from Zynga.
There is some good news for Facebook in all of this: while it’s financial situation remain precarious, the service is more popular than ever. Last week it came out that Facebook had reached one billion monthly active users.
Facebook could not be reached for comment.
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