NYC Official Again Prods Omnicom, Publicis to Reveal Hiring Trends

Comptroller wants to know the number of minorities, women in their ranks

New York City comptroller John Liu has renewed a previous call for Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe to disclose the numbers of minorities and women in their ranks, amid the planned merger of the two holding companies.

Liu justified the call by noting that New York City pension funds hold 653,928 shares of Omnicom stock and 175,786 shares of Publicis Groupe stock. Collectively those shares represent a combined value of $61 million, Liu added, in a letter he sent to Omnicom chairman Bruce Crawford and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Lévy.

In 2011, Liu pushed for ad holding companies to disclose the composition of their workforces by race and gender across major job categories. Interpublic Group and WPP Group complied but Omnicom and Publicis Groupe did not. Now as the latter two companies that collectively employ 130,000 staffers prepare to merge, Liu, fresh off his failed bid to become mayor of New York City, is speaking up again.

This time, he's asking the companies to include its staff breakdown by race and gender in their joint proxy statement seeking shareholder approval for the merger, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014. Lui also wants the combined company to provide annual updates on the data.

Failure to take such steps "undermines investor confidence in your commitments to diversity and non-discrimation at a critcal moment," Liu said, in his letter, a copy of which the comptroller distributed to media outlets today.

It was not clear how—if at all—the two holding companies would respond. Representatives for each had no immediate comment.