Magazine article ADWEEK

The Mad Men Era Is Alive and Well: Diversity Advocates See Mixed Signals in Ouster of JWT'S Martinez

Magazine article ADWEEK

The Mad Men Era Is Alive and Well: Diversity Advocates See Mixed Signals in Ouster of JWT'S Martinez

Article excerpt

Facing accusations that he made frequent jokes about rape, Jews and African Americans, JWT's global CEO Gustavo Martinez resigned last week, marking an abrupt reversal by his company. Succeeding Martinez is Tamara Ingram, the company's chief client team officer. Ingram, who led the P&G business at WPP for more than a decade, became one of the most powerful female executives in advertising when she was promoted last year.

The shake-up has sparked an industrywide moment of reflection. The allegations that Martinez often mocked women and minorities left many wondering if Mad Men's portrayal of leering, intolerant ad executives in the 1960s truly was an artifact of a bygone era or a lingering reality hidden under a veneer of diversity and inclusion.

To be clear, the case against Martinez and his agency is far from over. Erin Johnson. JWT's chief communications officer, continues to press her lawsuit against Martinez, whom she claims retaliated against her after she complained that he made light of rape and expressed racist opinions of minorities. Johnson is on paid leave as her lawsuit works its way through the legal process.

Martinez has not publicly admitted any wrongdoing, nor has JWT or its parent company WPP discussed which, if any, of Johnson's allegations were found to be true. But a week after he denied the accusations and WPP announced that its internal investigation found no evidence of discrimination, the holding company announced Martinez was resigning "by mutual agreement" and would immediately be replaced by Ingram. …

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