Kevin Roberts is resigning from Saatchi & Saatchi following his gender bias comments. Roberts was Saatchi & Saatchi executive chairman and Publicis Groupe head coach. Publicis Groupe confirmed the move through a press statement.
Soon after the comments he made in the Business Insider interview, Roberts was put on gardening leave. In the interview, Roberts declared the gender diversity debate in the advertising industry to be “over” and that people arguing about gender bias are “debating an issue that isn’t really there”. He stated that many women tend not to have ambitions to become a C-suite executive, but instead are content with doing great work at another level.
Publicis Groupe chairman & CEO, Maurice Lévy addressed a statement internally to all Publicis Groupe employees to reiterate the Groupe’s no-tolerance policy towards to such behaviour or commentary.
“It is for the gravity of these statements that Kevin Roberts has been asked to take a leave of absence from Publicis Groupe effective immediately. As a member of The Directoire, it will ultimately be the Publicis Groupe Supervisory Board’s duty to further evaluate his standing. Diversity & inclusion are business imperatives on which Publicis Groupe will not negotiate,” the press statement read.