‘Diversity and inclusion top of agenda’: Ingram
The new global CEO of ad agency J. Walter Thompson Tamara Ingram has said “diversity and inclusion are at the top of my agenda”.
The pronouncement came this week from the new head of the WPP-owned global network, which is fighting a lawsuit from its own comms chief who claims its former CEO Gustavo Martinez used racist and sexually abusive language at work.
Speaking at the launch of JWT’s Her Story documentary in London this week Ingram said: “Top of my agenda is diversity and inclusiveness. Not only is it going to be top of my agenda, it’s going to be top of all my executives’ agendas and top of every country manager’s agenda.”
Her pronouncement comes as scrutiny of gender and ethnic diversity across the industry intensifies.
M&C Saatchi global CEO David Kershaw this week defended the agency network’s all male board saying: “Making grand gestures like making a woman a non-exec isn’t going to change the world.”
That pronouncement drew ire from activist and former agency exec Cindy Gallop on Twitter:
Campaign UK reports Ingram as saying: “I believe to the core of my being that diversity of people leads to diversity of thinking and diversity of ideas, and unleashing that creativity is very valuable to us. We haven’t got that inclusion in our work place at the moment.
“I worry about the state of the world today and I feel it’s our duty as a company to change the world and make it a better place, to include all our peoples to make sure we live in a safer world.”
The agency group’s reputation has taken a battering in the last fortnight 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.
He stepped down from the role last week.