Hill Holliday Chairman and CEO Sent Out an Internal Memo Denouncing ‘Hatred, Intolerance or Discrimination’

By Erik Oster 

On Monday, IPG CEO Michael Roth released an internal memo circulated to the holding company’s estimated 50,000 employees unequivocally condemning both the violence and the white supremacist ideology exhibited in Charlottesville last weekend, making him, to our knowledge, the first agency leader to release such a statement.

According to the Fishbowl app, other agency leaders have since released similar statements—but they have not been leaked to the press.

Yesterday, however, following President Trump’s disturbing remarks in a Tuesday press conference, Hill Holliday chairman and CEO Karen Kaplan sent an internal memo to employees addressing the issue which was subsequently circulated to Adweek.


In the memo, Kaplan emphasizes that Hill Holliday is “a place of inclusion and respect” and expresses solidarity with Roth’s previous statement that “This isn’t a partisan or political issue, it’s an issue of basic humanity, and standing up for what is right at a particularly difficult moment.”

She concludes by inviting dialogue with herself or other senior leadership and asks that any employees engaging in any protest events “please stay safe.”

Kaplan concludes by calling on employees to defend values both the agency and America stand for: “liberty, justice, and equal rights for all.”

Here’s the memo in its entirety:

Hello everyone.

The events in Charlottesville and the political aftermath of the last several days have left many of us stunned, shaken and saddened.

As Americans, we enjoy different political views, and we approach the world from many perspectives. But when the line has been crossed between right and wrong, between discourse and hatred, we must stand up. There is no place in this country for Neo-Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists or any other ideological hate group that uses discrimination and violence as a path to power. There is no “side” in this, except the right one.

Hill Holliday is a place of inclusion and respect, and we stand firm together against any kind of racism, hatred, intolerance or discrimination. Our country may feel divided at times, but our family should not.

We stand unequivocally with the Chairman and CEO of IPG, Michael Roth: “This isn’t a partisan or political issue, it’s an issue of basic humanity, and standing up for what is right at a particularly difficult moment. We are counting on all of you to do that, by showing respect for our differences, and living up to our commitment to fairness and inclusion.”

If you would like to talk to senior leadership, start a discussion, or make your voice heard, we are here. My door is always open. And finally, please stay safe if you are participating in any protest events. Let’s take care of each other, and defend the values that our company and this country stand for: liberty, justice, and equal rights for all.