Since Facebook CMO Gary Briggs announced his plans to retire all the way back in January, the company has finally found a new marketing veteran to replace him. Antonio Lucio — the former CMO for Hewlett-Packard — will take over the role starting September 4, according to a Facebook post from the company’s chief product officer, Chris Cox.
“He has an extraordinary reputation in the industry as a leader, a marketer, an operator and a wise, gracious and deeply principled human being,” wrote Cox about Lucio. “From all of our interactions with him, he is a force of nature, and we are lucky to have him.”
Prior to joining Facebook, Lucio was at Hewlett-Packard for the last three years. He has also led the marketing organizations for Visa and PepsiCo and was part of the brand and marketing teams for Kraft Foods Group and Procter & Gamble.
Lucio is signing on to Facebook at what could arguably be the most difficult time in the company’s history. Facebook has spent this year struggling to overcome a multitude of obstacles — from the crisis that resulted because of its negligent handling of user data to the ongoing efforts around keeping its platform safe from malicious content and bad actors. In his post announcing Lucio’s appointment, Cox mentioned the precarious position Facebook is now in.
“Facebook’s story is at an inflection point. We have never faced bigger challenges, and we have never had more opportunities to have a positive impact on the world,” writes Cox.
The company, which had a reputation for low turnover among its top executives before this year, has recently experienced a slow drip of departures from its highest ranks — the latest of which is Dan Rose, Facebook’s VP of partnerships. Earlier this week, Rose, who has been with Facebook since 2006, posted on his public Facebook page that he was positioning out of his role at Facebook.
“I plan to stay at least through Mobile World Congress in February. This gives us plenty of time to recruit for a new leader, transition my responsibilities and relationships, and discuss whether there’s a way for me to continue helping Facebook from a distance,” wrote Rose.
Rose’s departure follows the June announcement that Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s head of communications and public policy, would also be leaving the company. After 10 years at Facebook, Schrage said he had been in discussions with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg about his departure since before the 2016 US elections but elected to stay on after Zuckerberg and Sandberg had requested he remain in his role.
According to a New York Times story that broke in March, Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos is said to be leaving the company this month, and Jan Koum, the CEO of the Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp announced his decision to step down via his Facebook page the day before Facebook kicked off its F8 Developers Conference on May 1.
In the midst of losing Briggs, Stamos, Koum, Schrage and now Rose, Facebook has also undergone a major reorganization of its internal teams this year. In May, Zuckerberg divided his product and engineering teams into three divisions: a Family of Apps team, a New Platforms and Infra team and a Central Product Services team.
Whether or not Facebook’s reorg and new lineup of executive heads will be able to move the company past its challenges remains to be seen. While none of the executive departure announcements hinted any of the executives had been asked to leave — in April, Zuckerberg even confirmed during a Q&A with journalists that no one had been fired over the Cambridge Analytica debacle — it’s hard not to consider a quote often attributed to Einstein in the face of so much change: that a new type of thinking is essential if mankind, or in this case, Facebook, is to survive and move to higher levels.