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Incoming Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo: ‘I Have No Reason to Doubt’ Joe Alexander’s Accusers

By Patrick Coffee Comment

Over the weekend, The Martin Agency gave its new CEO Kristen Cavallo’s first interview to the hometown Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The piece is very much worth a look for anyone who has been following this story, and you should go to the paper’s website (here, again) to read the full report. The RTD’s reporters spoke to 17 former Martin Agency employees who tell very similar and in some cases identical stories to the ones we heard.

But we would like to point out the most significant conclusions from the story:

  • Former CEO Matt Williams is transitioning out of his role at The Martin Agency
  • The woman whose complaint eventually led to the internal investigation that preceded chief creative officer Joe Alexander’s ouster still works for the company

Most importantly, Cavallo said she knows most of the women who spoke on the record to Adweek and The Wall Street Journal—they were, with one exception, the same people—from the 12-plus years she herself spent as an executive and planning director at The Martin Agency.

Her key quote:

“I know some of the people that have come forth and I know them to be good and honest people. So I have no reason to doubt anything that happened.”

It’s now been fairly well-established that, according to multiple employees, Joe Alexander behaved for years in a way that made his female colleagues uncomfortable and, in some cases, far worse. Yet there is still some debate over the circumstances surrounding his departure as well as the scope and depth of related problems within the agency.

Cavallo also said that, though the ad industry is indeed “a boys club,” she did not personally experience any sort of misogyny while working at Martin from 1998 to 2011.

We have been consistently receiving more information regarding the case since Adweek’s coverage first ran more than a week ago. Again, please feel free to reach out to patrick.coffee@adweek.com.

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