Facebook's head of communications to leave company


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Joe Lockhart, Facebook Inc's head of global communications and a former press secretary for President Bill Clinton, is leaving the social networking company, Facebook said. Lockhart, who is the latest high-profile executive to depart Facebook following its disappointing initial public offering in May, is leaving 15 months after joining the world's No.1 social network.

A Facebook spokeswoman said that Lockhart is leaving because he decided he wanted to remain on the East Coast, and did not want to move to California, where Facebook is headquartered.

Caryn Marooney, VP of technical communications, remains Facebook’s highest-ranking PR official, directly under Elliot Schrage, who is VP of communications and public policy for the company.

Facebook losing high-profile employees.

The departure comes at something of an awkward time for Facebook, a company largely under the scrutiny of Wall Street and public shareholders after a rough-and-tumble IPO and months of flagging stock prices.

Lockhart follows a string of other high-profile departures, including former head of platform partnerships Ethan Beard, and former director of platform marketing Katie Mitic, who both announced their exits on the same day in August. In June, Facebook Chief Technology Officer Bret Taylor announced that he would leave the company.

Lockhart's last day at Facebook has not yet been determined. The Facebook spokeswoman said the company hopes to continue to work with Lockhart as an independent consultant.

Lockhart was the chief spokesman and senior adviser to President Clinton between 1998 and 2000, and co-founded the Glover Park Group communications firm in 2001.

Facebook, which announced earlier this week that it had surpassed a billion monthly active users, ranks among the Web's most popular destinations alongside websites owned by Google Inc, Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc.

But the company has faced a rough reception on Wall Street, as concerns about its slowing revenue growth rate has cut its market valuation by more than 40 percent.

Shares of Facebook were down 2.6 percent at $21.37 in midday trading on Friday.

News of Lockhart's move was first reported by technology blog AllThingsD.com.