HP Calls on All of Its Agencies to Improve Leadership Diversity Within a Year

BBDO, Gyro and others have 30 days to submit proposals

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HP chief marketing and communications officer Antonio Lucio has called on all of its agencies to put forward a proposal outlining how each agency will improve on the number of women and people of color within their creative departments.

In the letter, dated Aug. 30, Lucio notes that he has already spoken with each of HP's agency partners and briefed them on what's to come. Within the next 30 days, each agency must submit a formal plan outlining how it will improve diversity numbers. The expectation is that within 12 months each agency will have accomplished the goals put forth in those plans.

"Including women and people of color in key roles is not only a values issue, but a significant business imperative," Lucio writes.

"We are more likely to create solutions that amaze our customers if our workforce represents the communities we serve. As a global company, we need to take a broad view of diversity, as increased representation will take different forms in different countries. We have decided to start by addressing women," he added.

HP will also be participating in this larger effort to add more women and people of color to its staff by creating scorecards that will help the brand measure its own diversity numbers throughout the organization. "We are far from perfect, and I know there will be challenges, but I am committed to immediate, global, impact, rigorously measuring our performance and being transparent about the gaps to overcome. I am asking the same of each of you," Lucio said.

The move from HP comes just a few days after General Mills chief marketing officer Ann Simonds announced that any agency working with a General Mills brands must prove that their creative department is comprised of at at least 50 percent women and 20 percent people of color.

Unlike General Mills, HP did not disclose any particular percentage that it is hoping for within its advertising partners. Rather, the letter is a call to action for each agency to make a change, and actually begin to make that change rather than simply talking about it.

"We owe this to ourselves, to each other and to future generations. By making the important and necessary changes today, together we can bend the arc of history in favor of inclusion and opportunity. Now comes the proof of our commitment," he added.

HP currently works with agencies including BBDO, FleishmanHillard, Gyro, Fred & Farid and Porter Novelli. BBDO worldwide president and CEO Andrew Robertson expressed his commitment to the idea saying, "the pursuit of gender equality is something Antonio and I have discussed a lot over the years, and not just because of business. I have two daughters and he has five. He knows about BBDO's commitment to double the number of female senior creative leaders we have in one year and obviously supports it. His initiative to formalize an action plan on his business is something we welcome."

Take a look at the full call to action below.

@ktjrichards katie.richards@adweek.com Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.