NFL hands off top comms position to Joe Lockhart

The former White House press secretary is replacing Paul Hicks, who stepped down in September, in the league's top communications role.

NEW YORK: The National Football League has brought on former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart as EVP of communications, it said on Tuesday.

He is reporting to COO Tod Leiweke.

Lockhart is replacing Paul Hicks as the league’s top communications executive. Hicks, who held the title of EVP of communications and public policy, joined Glover Park Group as an MD in September.

Lockhart will oversee and direct league office initiatives for communications, social responsibility, and community relations in the role, the NFL said in a statement.

The league also promoted SVP of government affairs Cynthia Hogan to EVP of public policy and government affairs. She is also reporting to Leiweke.

The NFL has been dealing with increased public scrutiny of the safety of the game, as scientific evidence mounts that repeated blows to the head suffered by players can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy or other diseases. The discovery of the disease was the subject of the recently released motion picture Concussion, which starred Will Smith.

In the past two seasons, the NFL has also dealt with fallout from its handling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse case and "Deflategate," or its suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady that was overturned on appeal.

Lockhart was most recently a senior adviser at Washington, DC-based Glover Park Group, which he cofounded years earlier. In June 2011, he stepped away from Glover Park Group to join Facebook as VP of global communications before returning to the firm nearly two years later. Previously, he was White House press secretary for former President Bill Clinton from August 1998 to October 2000.

The league said Hogan will work on a wide range of issues. As well as serving as the NFL’s interim communications chief since Hicks’ departure, she is a former deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and counsel to Vice President Joe Biden. From 1991 to 1996, she was chief counsel, staff director, and counsel for Constitutional law for the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary.  

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