Omnicom CEO John Wren sent an internal memo to all Omnicom employees today addressing racism and the police killing of George Floyd.
Wren opens the letter by directly referencing Floyd’s killing, as well as “other recent acts of racism against diverse communities,” which he calls “tragic and heartbreaking.”
He also alluded to a racist incident in New York’s Central Park last week involving Omnicom employee Christian Cooper. Cooper was birding in the Ramble section of the park when a white woman named Amy Cooper responded to his request for her to leash her dog (per the park’s rules) by calling police and falsely claiming Cooper was threatening her. Wren commented that Cooper’s “experience has created important conversations and a deeper awareness, and we are proud of the inspiration he has offered to so many throughout the world.”
“There is no place in society for hatred and bigotry. This isn’t a political issue, it’s an issue of basic humanity,” Wren said, claiming that “diversity and equality” has been a core value for Omnicom since its 1986 formation.
“I ask that we all continue to show support and empathy for our diverse communities right now as the constant stream of headlines takes its toll mentally and emotionally for so many,” Wren told employees. “Reach out to your fellow employees and take care of one another.”
He concluded the memo by thanking Omnicom employees for “making the world a better place,” adding, “I stand with you.”
Wren’s memo comes in the wake of similar messages from other holding company leaders. His statement appears to be the first to reference Floyd by name (as well as the first to reference the incident with Christian Cooper).
An internal video from Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun‘s was criticized by some employees for failing to adequately address racism and police brutality, as Sadoun alluded to “widespread protests in the face of clear acts of discrimination and violence.”
IPG CEO Michael Roth addressed the “the systemic racism and hate we’ve seen recently in the United States” in an internal memo last Friday otherwise concerned with the holding company’s reopening strategy. The same day, IPG Mediabrands CEO Daryl Lee dedicated an internal memo to addressing racism, police brutality and its impact on employees while noting that communities of color have also been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic “for a variety of reasons including a systemic lack of access to quality healthcare.”
Here’s Wren’s memo in its entirety:
While so many people have performed acts of kindness and generosity in the face of a global pandemic, the death of George Floyd, together with the other recent acts of racism against diverse communities, have been tragic and heartbreaking.
Last week, the incidents especially hit home for many in the Omnicom community when we learned Christian Cooper, an Omnicom employee, was involved in a racist incident in New York City’s Central Park. His experience has created important conversations and a deeper awareness, and we are proud of the inspiration he has offered to so many throughout the world.
There is no place in society for hatred and bigotry. This isn’t a political issue, it’s an issue of basic humanity.
Since the formation of Omnicom, diversity and equality have been among our core values. It goes without saying, we remain committed to being a company that supports its people while upholding the highest standards of respect and inclusion we so often talk about in our D&I efforts.
I ask that we all continue to show support and empathy for our diverse communities right now as the constant stream of headlines takes its toll mentally and emotionally for so many. Reach out to your fellow employees and take care of one another.
Every day, Omnicom people make a difference. I thank you for making the world a better place. I stand with you.