JWT global CEO Gustavo Martinez quits amid racism and sexism lawsuit filed by comms lead

gustavo martinez

Martinez ‘resigned in the best interest’ of JWT

The global boss of WPP agency J Walter Thompson Gustavo Martinez has quit a week after the agency’s head of communications filed a lawsuit alleging he had made racist and sexist comments.

Overnight WPP put out a statement saying: “By mutual agreement, Martinez has resigned in the best interest of the J. Walter Thompson Company.”

The agency group’s reputation has taken a battering in the last week as details of the lawsuit filed by chief communications officer Erin Johnson filtered out. They include claims Martinez had said to her “come here so I can rape you in the bathroom” and grabbed her by the neck.

Other allegations include Martinez telling employees he would avoid “black monkeys” at the airport as they did not know how to use computers, and referred to Jewish people as “fucking Jews”.

Martinez, who was hailed as the first Hispanic leader of a major agency network, has denied the allegations.

Top job: Ingram

Top job: Ingram

WPP chief client chief client team officer Tamara Ingram has been named as his replacement. She had also spent 12 years heading up WPP’s Team P&G and executive managing director of Grey Group.

It has also emerged holding company WPP, run by Sir Martin Sorrell, has appointed external investigators to look into the allegations, and had known about them since February 25.

Martinez had only been in the role since January 2015, succeeding long-time incumbent Bob Jeffrey. He had previously held senior roles with agency groups McCann and Ogilvy.

Alex Hayes


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