On Joe Lockhart’s first day as chief spokesman and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, the House Judiciary Committee recommended that the President be impeached. Over the ensuing months, as Congress debated the President’s fate, Lockhart impressed observers with his steady and forthright handling of often contentious, twice-daily press briefings. Long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas called Lockhart “a straight shooter,” and “one of the best it’s been my honor to work with.” Susan Page at USA Today found him “direct, well-informed and trusted.”
Lockhart handled the two-pronged challenge of managing a major crisis while continuing to tell the positive story of the administration with a widely-admired, easy-going confidence, and by March of 1999, after only six months with Joe at the podium, President Clinton’s approval rating had risen dramatically. Lockhart had helped the President not merely withstand a historic public relations crisis, but emerge from it more popular than ever.
Lockhart developed his knack for steering the conversation during his early career as an award-winning journalist, political strategist and public-relations consultant. A graduate of Georgetown University, he held posts as an Assignment Editor at ABC News, a Deputy Assignment Manager for CNN, and a foreign producer reporting on the Gulf War for Skye News. He served as a press secretary for the presidential campaigns of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, an aide to Senator Paul Simon, a senior advisor to the John Kerry campaign, and an Executive Vice President at Bozell Sawyer Miller, where he advised a range of high-profile corporations and institutions on media relations and political strategy.
Lockhart brought his signature talents to bear again when he left the White House to launch the Glover Park Group, a Washington, DC communications strategy firm. As Founding Partner and Managing Director, Lockhart embedded his instinct for storytelling into the company’s DNA, and GPG quickly grew into an industry powerhouse. The firm has earned a reputation for providing its wide range of corporate and non-profit clients (including Microsoft, Visa and the National Football League) with deft and agile crisis management, astute public affairs, policy, advertising and marketing counsel, and cutting-edge opinion research.
In 2011 Lockhart was named Vice-President of Global Communications at Facebook, just as the rapidly-expanding enterprise was preparing to go public. There, he quickly helped the company mitigate initial public backlash to its IPO, take ownership of its story and aggressively refortify its brand. His work at Facebook solidified Lockhart’s own reputation for visionary management, and in 2013 he returned to the Glover Park Group, where that vision payed immediate dividends, in the form of a major expansion and move to a new headquarters.
Lockhart’s reputation for tirelessly proactive client service also continued to grow while at GPG, as he spearheaded the National Football League’s response to a series of public challenges. He launched a forceful counteroffensive to criticism by the New York Times of the league’s concussion studies, and was instrumental in helping the NFL institute its new comprehensive and broadly-admired personal conduct policy. In 2016 the NFL named Lockhart Executive Vice-President overseeing Communications, Government Affairs, Social Responsibility and Philanthropy.
The story of Joe Lockhart’s career, unsurprisingly, reads like the many stories he’s helped shape over the years for his clients: a progression of accomplishment in a variety of fields, guided by ambitious creative vision, seasoned judgement and a steady hand.