Antonio Lucio is stepping down as Facebook CMO after two years in order to dedicate his time to “diversity, inclusion and equity”.
Describing 2020 as a time of reckoning for both the US and the marketing industry, Lucio explained in a Facebook post his intention going forward is to help marketing and advertising companies focus on accelerating their diversity and inclusion efforts. He cited the impact the death of his mother, prior to lockdown, had had on his thinking.
“Given the historical inflection point we are in as a country regarding racial justice, I have decided to dedicate 100% of my time to diversity, inclusion and equity,” he added. “Although these issues have been core to my personal purpose for many years and they were an important element of my work, I want to make them my sole focus.”
Lucio’s departure comes just a month after more than 1,000 organisations including Coca-Cola, Unilever and Mars pulled ad spend from Facebook platforms in support of #StopHateForProfit. The campaign called on advertisers to boycott the social network for the month of July in order to force Facebook to do more to prevent hate speech spreading on its platforms.
The CMO joined Facebook in September 2018, six months after it was revealed 87 million Facebook accounts has been affected by the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal.
With the social network’s reputation severely dented, Lucio was given responsibility for the global consumer marketing organisation, with a focus on communicating “the story of Facebook’s brands, products and services more transparently”.
A LinkedIn job ad at the time said Facebook was looking for a CMO that could “build, manage and inspire a global marketing organisation focused on its consumer business and overall company reputation”. The role was said to cover everything from product and digital marketing to social media, analytics, branding, events and partnerships.
He replaced outgoing CMO Gary Briggs and reported into chief product officer Chris Cox, as well as being part of COO Sheryl Sandberg’s leadership team. Speaking on Lucio’s appointment Sandberg praised “his talents and commitment to diversity”, while Cox recognised the organisation had “never faced bigger challenges”.
Under Lucio’s watch the company rolled out a corporate rebrand and new logo in November 2019, designed to unite its family of apps and distinguish Facebook the organisation from Facebook the app. The corporate Facebook brand now appears on all its apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus, Messenger and Portal, with the words “from Facebook” flashing up on the log-in screen.
Speaking at the time, Lucio described the rebrand as a way to better communicate Facebook’s “ownership structure to the people and businesses who use our services to connect, share, build community and grow their audiences”.
Then in February, he oversaw Facebook’s first Super Bowl ad ‘Ready to Rock?’ starring Chris Rock and Sylvester Stallone, designed to promote the variety of different Facebook Groups. Estimates are that Facebook paid $10m (£7.6m) for the 60-second slot.
With lockdowns imposed globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic Lucio’s team released ‘Never Lost’, a film showing empty streets across the world which featured user generated content and footage of keyworkers.
Then to celebrate Mother’s Day in the US Facebook produced ‘Born in Quarantine’, a campaign aimed at showing solidarity with parents and promoting its new parenting hub. The social media giant also released a series of films supporting small businesses trying to survive following the coronavirus crisis.
Prior to joining Facebook, Lucio served as global chief marketing and communications officer at tech company HP. His career started in brand and product management at Proctor & Gamble in 1981, before he was appointed marketing director of the Kraft Foods Group in 1994.
Lucio went on to spend 12 years at PepsiCo in various marketing roles, culminating as chief innovation, health and wellness officer in 2007. For the next seven years he worked for Visa, rising to the position of global chief marketing and communications officer, before joining HP in 2015.