Former Diversity Director Felicia Geiger Told Campaign That Deutsch Is ‘No Longer Going to Invest in Diversity’

By Erik Oster 

On Monday, we wrote about Deutsch parting ways with senior vice president, director of diversity Felicia Geiger and eliminating the position altogether. 

We’re not generally ones to “beat a dead horse,” but we missed Campaign’s recent conversation with Geiger, who said: “I was told that the agency was no longer going to invest in diversity. They wanted to put their efforts behind other initiatives, such as technology.”

After news of Geiger’s dismissal became public, Deutsch positioned the decision as a strategic move to shift responsibility for diversity efforts away from a single executive.

Before leaving the agency, Geiger told Campaign that she suggested the agency fill one of its recently vacated CCO roles with a diversity candidate: “I had suggested this would be a great way to infuse diversity at the most senior levels, and that suggestion was not taken up.”

Those positions were filled at the end of last month by creative veterans Dan Kelleher and Jason Bagley

Geiger’s job at one point included a budget “well over six figures,” which included investments in programs such as the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program and nonprofit TORCH, which exposes New York high schoolers to a range of career opportunities, but that budget was slashed considerably around 2014. She was told in January that the agency’s diversity budget, and in all likelihood her position, would be eliminated.

“I said I would like to keep this confidential, because as the agency cheerleader, people would flip if they found out,” she said. “And we agreed that we would keep this under wraps,” she added.

This week’s reaction shows she wasn’t exactly wrong about people flipping out.

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