HP Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio is leaving the printer and computer maker to become Facebook's next chief marketing officer, putting him on the front lines of the social network's image repair effort.
Chris Cox, Facebook's chief product officer, announced the move today. Lucio has "an extraordinary reputation in the industry as a leader, a marketer, an operator, and a wise, gracious, and deeply principled human being," the announcement said. "He has been outspoken on the need to build authentic global brands with integrity and from places of principle, and also on the importance of building diverse teams at every level in the organization. From all our interactions with him, he is a force of nature, and we are lucky to have him."
Cox added: "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 — in our families, our friendships, our communities, and our democracy — by improving our products at their core, and then by telling the story outside that we all know to be true inside."
HP stated that Vikrant Batra, current global head of marketing for the company's print business, will replace Lucio as its CMO.
Facebook has been on the hunt for a marketing leader since Gary Briggs announced his resignation in January. But the job has gotten more challenging in recent months as Facebook fends off negative publicity surrounding data privacy issues that came to light amid the Cambridge Analytica affair. The company has also been ensnared in political controversies that have put it in the crosshairs of politicians and regulators investigating Russian interference in U.S. elections.
A job notice on LinkedIn stated that the candidate must know how to "guide a brand's reputation" and must have "experience in crisis management."
Lucio joined HP in 2015, following an eight-year stint at Visa, where he was credited with creating the company's first-ever global positioning and brand identity system as global CMO. Previously he held marketing jobs at consumer packaged-goods companies PepsiCo, Kraft General Foods, RJR Foods International and Procter & Gamble.
Lucio, a native of Spain who was raised in Puerto Rico, is known as a fierce advocate for diversity. At HP, he pushed his agencies to include more women and people of color in senior leadership positions. Earlier this year he told Ad Age that the representation of women leaders working on HP's account went from zero to 52 percent, but conceded that the company did not make as much progress getting agencies to put people of color on the account.
Under his leadership, HP has pursued emotional advertising using the "Keep Reinventing" tagline. For instance, a Father's Day ad showed a man introducing his infant to his deceased grandfather by showing the baby a printed photo of the elderly man.
A 2017 ad tackled political tensions by looking at the issue through the eyes of a single family gathered at home for the holidays. They argue but are brought together by a collage of photos assembled using an HP Sprocket photo printer that are posted on the fridge.
At an Association of National Advertisers conference last year, Lucio outlined his take on how marketers should behave in the current environment, saying "in this era of political division, partisanship and misunderstanding, brands have a very important role to play to stand for the fundamental basic human truth that unites us all as human beings." He added, "Politicians run every four years. They can thrive on division and short-term gains. As brands we cannot afford that. Our customers vote with their trust and their wallet every day."
Lucio plans to leave HP on August 31 and starts at Facebook September 4. HP CEO Dion Weisler stated that "we are grateful to Antonio for his service to HP," adding "with a brand that has never been stronger, it's a testament to his leadership that we are prepared with the right team to continue to reinvent HP and drive shareholder value."