NFL's Joe Lockhart retires: 9 times he made PR headlines

PRWeek looks back on Lockhart's high-profile PR career.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Joe Lockhart is leaving his role as the NFL’s EVP of communications and public affairs after the Super Bowl next month. He is exiting following a two-year stint at the NFL to spend more time with his family.

Check out nine times Lockhart made headlines for his high-profile PR career.

Lockhart surveys interest from PR firms
In 2000, after Lockhart left his role as President Bill Clinton’s press secretary, he was seen in New York entertaining offers from several agencies, including Edelman, Burson-Marsteller, and MWW. He ended up joining Oracle later that year as SVP and adviser to then-CEO Larry Ellison.

Lockhart quits Oracle, plans firm with Eskew and Feldman
Less than a year after joining Oracle, Lockhart left the company and began planning to launch a firm with former aides to Al Gore, Carter Eskew and Mike Feldman. The firm, Glover Park Group, launched in 2001.

Q&A: Joe Lockhart
Lockhart took questions from PRWeek readers about working in the White House and private sector, crisis management, and career advice. One reader asked how he suggested to get crisis experience. Lockhart replied, "It's to grow up in a big, Irish Catholic family, where there's a crisis every other day. That's a serious answer."

Joe Lockhart: Honest Joe, the White House’s straight spinner
This June 2000 profile walks through Lockhart’s day as White House press secretary, which began at 7:00 a.m. and had five early-morning meetings crammed in before most people are getting to work. His favorite part of the day was the morning, off-camera press briefing, which he said was "more fun."

Facebook hires Bill Clinton's former press secretary Joe Lockhart
Ten years after founding Glover Park Group, Lockhart decamped to the West Coast to join Facebook as VP of global communications. In the role, he oversaw Facebook’s policy, international, and corporate communications.

Facebook global comms VP Lockhart to step down
Lockhart stepped down from his role at Facebook after just over a year. He reportedly decided to leave because he did not want to live in California full-time. He moved back to Washington after his departure to take a consulting role.

Lockhart returns to Glover Park Group in Washington
He returned to the firm he cofounded, Glover Park Group, as a senior adviser in 2013. Glover Park Group’s then-CEO Chip Smith said, "[Lockhart] is one of the finest strategic minds in communications and consulting. We couldn't be more excited to welcome him home. Our clients and our firm will benefit greatly from his leadership and wise counsel."

NFL hands off top comms position to Joe Lockhart
Lockhart took another high profile comms job in 2016, as EVP of communications at the NFL. He replaced Paul Hicks, who joined Glover Park Group, and oversaw league office initiatives for communications, social responsibility, and community relations.

Top NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart to step down
Two years later, Lockhart announced his exit from the NFL after a tumultuous season that saw falling ratings and national anthem protests. In an email to his colleagues, he said he plans to take time off and spend more time with his family after leaving the league, floating the idea of getting back into political commentary or teaching.

"As one of the most important and iconic cultural institutions in our country, the NFL is subject to almost as much scrutiny as our government," he wrote in the email. "Americans’ passion for the game generates debates every bit as heated as those in politics. In fact, as I’ve shared with some of you, the two years in this role feels a lot like my two years as White House press secretary."

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