Internal Memo: Omnicom CEO John Wren Designates Juneteenth as Company-Wide Holiday

By Erik Oster Comment

Omnicom CEO John Wren sent out an internal memo yesterday announcing that the parent firm is designating June 19, Juneteenth, as a company-wide holiday.

It is unclear at this time if Omnicom will make Juneteenth a permanent holiday going forward or if it will only be offered this year. The message follows another internal memo Wren sent to Omnicom employees on June 1 addressing systemic racism and the police killing of George Floyd, which also alluded to a racist incident in Central Park involving Omnicom employee Christian Cooper.

“Wherever you are in the world, you likely have seen coverage of senseless acts of racism in the United States and the understandable protests they have prompted,” Wren wrote to open yesterday’s memo. “Omnicom stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Wren reiterated that “diversity and equality have always been among our core values,” adding, “There is no place at Omnicom for racism or discrimination against any person in any form.”

He commended Omnicom chief diversity officer Tiffany Warren and the Omnicom People Engagement Network on the “tremendous progress” they have brought to Omnicom over the course of the past decade.

“However, we also recognize that our efforts to date have not been nearly enough,” Wren said. “We must turn these horrific events into a catalyst to make lasting change—as individuals, as a company and as a community.”

He explained that Omnicom would use the discussion led by Warren and the Omnicom People Engagement Network, as well as the “guidance of our diversity leaders, to improve our existing diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

Wren then announced the decision to designate June 19, Juneteenth, as “a company-wide day off from work to reflect and engage on this global issue.”

He also explained that Warren will be curating a session which employees can view on June 18 and said that details on the sessions will be provided next week.

“We encourage all our agencies to participate, and I ask each of you to take the time to consider the role we can play in this struggle for equality, both as individuals and as a collective,” Wren added. He also announced that Omnicom would “strengthen” its support of programs it has invested in for over a decade, including the AAF Most Promising Multicultural Students Program, The LaGrant Foundation, 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program and Adcolor, as well as adopting “new programs where appropriate and hold ourselves accountable in the areas of training, recruitment, talent development and retention, and compensation.”

“The events of recent weeks and months have taken a mental and physical toll on all of us,” Wren said, adding that Omnicom’s leadership team stands with its employees and is listening while reminding employees to take advantage of the holding company’s healthcare benefits, and to “seek comfort” from colleagues, friends and family.

“We will do everything we can to support you and give you the space to express your feelings and concerns,” he concluded.

Here’s the memo in full:

Wherever you are in the world, you likely have seen coverage of senseless acts of racism in the United States and the understandable protests they have prompted. Omnicom stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

As I mentioned in my last note, diversity and equality have always been among our core values. There is no place at Omnicom for racism or discrimination against any person in any form.

Over the last decade, our Chief Diversity Officer, Tiffany R. Warren, together with the OPEN Leadership Team of Diversity Directors and Officers across the organization, have made tremendous progress and brought significant changes to Omnicom and our agencies. However, we also recognize that our efforts to date have not been nearly enough. We must turn these horrific events into a catalyst to make lasting change — as individuals, as a company and as a community.

Tiffany and the OPEN Leadership Team are leading discussions on what more we can do to support our Black colleagues and people of color across our organization. We will use these discussions, and the guidance of our diversity leaders, to improve our existing Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.

With this in mind, we are recognizing June 19th, or Juneteenth, as a company-wide day off from work to reflect and engage on this global issue. Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 that marked the end of slavery in the United States. Tiffany and her team will be curating a session that all of you can view on June 18 — details will be provided early next week. We encourage all our agencies to participate, and I ask each of you to take the time to consider the role we can play in this struggle for equality, both as individuals and as a collective.

For more than a decade, we have supported and invested in a number of educational and career development programs that have created greater diversity in our industry. These include AAF Most Promising Multicultural Students Program, The LaGrant Foundation, 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program and ADCOLOR. We plan to strengthen our support of these programs, adopt new programs where appropriate and hold ourselves accountable in the areas of training, recruitment, talent development and retention, and compensation. Our entire leadership team is committed to accelerating our efforts to build a more inclusive, diverse and aware organization.

The events of recent weeks and months have taken a mental and physical toll on all of us. I want you to know that our leadership team stands with you, and we are listening. I encourage you to take advantage of the healthcare benefits that our companies offer and to seek comfort from your colleagues, friends and family. We will do everything we can to support you and give you the space to express your feelings and concerns.

Stay safe and be well,
John

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