Leo Burnett Sydney breaks silence saying it hired all-male creative team because ‘they were the best’ after storm of criticism

Ad agency Leo Burnett Sydney has finally responded to criticisms of its press release about its five new senior male creative hires saying they were hired “because they were the best”.

leo burnett gender tweet 2 In a series of tweets from its account this afternoon the agency also tried to push its number of female staff, saying 45 per cent of its management team in Sydney are women and 50 per cent of the agency is female.

The agency has garnered national headlines after prominent equality campaigner Cindy Gallop called them out for press releasing its hire of five white male creatives, a move Grey London’s creative head Nils Leonard today said sent the wrong signals to the industry.

cindy gallop leos give them hell

Leo Burnett has refused to comment on the issue, but quietly this afternoon released a series of tweets defending its decision.

“We agree these are conversations that our industry needs to have, which is why we’ve always had a diversity council in place,” read the first.

leo burnett gender tweet 1

The second defended the hires saying “None of our latest hires were hired because of their specific gender, race or nationality; they were hired because they were the best.”

The third and fourth pointed to the agency’s own diversity: “45% of our Sydney management Team is women, we have a female Head of Strategy, Head of Business Management and Head of NR/Talent.”

leo burnett gender tweet 3

The final tweet said: “…and overall 50% of the agency are women. Hiring diversity will continue to be a top priority for our company.”

leo burnett gender tweet 4

Stats given by the Communications Council to Mumbrella show that while the gender split in the industry if 51%:49% women are hugely underrepresented in senior management and creative roles in particular, and over index in account management and support functions.

According to commenters in the comment thread under the original Cindy Gallop story Leo Burnett has a 30-strong creative team in Sydney, with just one female on it. Leo Burnett has been approached for comment and confirmation of those numbers.

Alex Hayes



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