Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Kevin Roberts has been placed on leave following some misjudged comments to Business Insider on gender diversity in advertising.
Amongst the comments, Roberts said that he didn’t spend “any time” on the debate of gender diversity at his company, as he viewed the discussion as over.
He also criticised women’s rights campaigner Cindy Gallop, who he described as having “problems that are of her own making”.
“I think she’s making up a lot of the stuff to create a profile, and to take applause, and to get on a soap[box].”
Publicis boss Maurice Levy has asked Roberts to take leave effective immediately “due to the gravity of these statements”.
“As a member of The Directoire, it will ultimately be the Publicis Groupe Supervisory Board’s duty to further evaluate his standing,” the statement continued.
“Diversity and inclusion are business imperatives on which Publicis Groupe will not negotiate. While fostering a work environment that is inclusive of all talent is a collective responsibility, it is leadership’s job to nurture the career aspirations and goals of all our talent.
“Promoting gender equality starts at the top and the Groupe will not tolerate anyone speaking for our organisation who does not value the importance of inclusion. Publicis Groupe works very hard to champion diversity and will continue to insist that each agency’s leadership be champions of both diversity and inclusion.”
At Saatchi & Saatchi, 65% of its staff are female, with a large number in executive roles.