JWT Will Move Beyond the Gustavo Martinez Scandal With a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Council’

By Patrick Coffee 

As soon as Tamara Ingram became JWT’s new global chairman/CEO following the March resignation of Gustavo Martinez, she let the world know that “diversity and inclusion will be at the top of my agenda … [because] companies don’t value women enough.”

She made good on that promise today by laying out her plans for an agency-wide Diversity and Inclusion Council.

AdAge’s report includes several interesting details:

  • Ingram announced the Council in an internal video
  • The agency has partnered with consulting firm inQUEST to act as an objective third party reviewing its efforts on this front
  • Ingram will also launch a “talk to me” hotline for employees who feel threatened or uncomfortable about “certain issues”

Perhaps most surprisingly, JWT chief talent officer Laura Agostini–who played a central role in the Erin Johnson lawsuit and allegedly declined to act on Johnson’s repeated complaints about Martinez’s behavior–will retain her position.

JWT also hired former Y&R chief talent officer Celia Berk to fill the newly-created role of chief employee engagement officer while simultaneously acting as group talent partner within the larger WPP organization. Her LinkedIn profile describes the new gigs as such:

As Chief Employee Experience Officer, reports to the CEO and focuses on ensuring the work lives of JWT employees are as rewarding as possible.

As Group Talent Partner, reports to WPP’s Chief Client Team Officer and works with the company’s 45 global account teams to advance WPP’s strategic focus on “horizontality.”

An agency spokesperson referred us to WPP’s PR firm Finsbury, which declined to comment on the news.

UPDATE: After we posted this story, another party confirmed that the video had been released internally today and that JWT will not make any additional announcements.

Some select Tamara Ingram quotes from that video:

“[Celia Berk’s] task is to look at the journey of an employee from the time we get one, bring them into our house, see how they’re promoted, what barriers get in the way to ensure that everyone has the best experiences.

I am thrilled that Laura Agostini is going to work with Celia in the whole area of talent and diversity, but Laura will continue to do her wonderful HR responsibilities.

We need to fulfill every individual talent in so that we get the best out of everyone in order to deliver the best work and to work in the most collaborative J. Walter Thompson Culture.”