Deutsch Parts with SVP Felicia Geiger, Eliminates Director of Diversity Position

By Patrick Coffee Comment

The Deutsch organization has parted ways with veteran recruiter and longtime employee Felicia Geiger.

Geiger spent more than 14 years with the organization and most recently held the SVP/director of diversity and inclusion title. She joined Deutsch in 2002, and since then she has won various awards and participated in advocacy groups/events such as Live Out Loud, ADCOLOR and the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) Diversity Achievement and Mosaic Awards and Forum.

Prior to moving Deutsch-side, Geiger served as a recruiter at TBWA and Mitchell/Martin Incorporated.

A Deutsch spokesperson positioned her departure and more specifically the elimination of the director of diversity position as a strategic shift for the agency, writing, “One of the philosophies we lean into is that everybody at Deutsch, from the CEO to the receptionist, owns diversity.”

According to this narrative, tasking the HR department with working on diversity efforts actually discourages others from helping move the agency toward its goals. The Deutsch rep writes, “We wanted to really make sure that everybody was stepping up and owning it. Having one person who owned it … kind of took the responsibility off everybody else. And so now our diversity efforts are spread much more through, not just in the HR department, but in other departments throughout the agency.”

That’s a very unique way to put it. One must wonder whether other shops will follow this model given the increasing emphasis on developing an ad industry that is more reflective of the public at large.

This move follows several other big hires and departures at Deutsch, most prominently last week’s addition of former KBS CCO Dan Kelleher and W+K veteran Jason Bagley as the New York and Los Angeles offices’ newest chief creative officers.

Over the past month or so, Deutsch also eliminated the EVP of brand intelligence position, hired former Arnold ECD Pete Johnson to work under Kelleher in New York, and parted ways with chief marketing officer Tara Levine, who left to join Omnicom’s new network Hearts & Minds and work on its P&G media account.

After leaving Deutsch, Geiger changed her Twitter handle from @DeutschDiva to @XDeutschDiva, though agency PR tells us that was a personal choice that had nothing to do with the organization itself.

A few days ago she also shared a tweet from somewhat notorious PepsiCo beverage president Brad Jakeman in which he expressed skepticism regarding Pete Favat’s explanation of the decision to hire Kelleher and Bagley.

You may not be surprised to learn that Cindy Gallop offered a similar response to the piece headlined “Why Deutsch hired two white, male CCOs.”

[Image via ADC’s 50/50 Initiative]
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