Agency Brief: McCann Worldgroup promotes Singleton Beato to global chief DE&I officer
First up, McCann Worldgroup promoted Singleton Beato to the new role of global executive VP and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. She has been serving as chief diversity and engagement officer since 2017, implementing and leading “diversity and engagement solutions that drive business performance” across McCann Worldgroup, the network says. In the expanded role, the agency says Beato will report directly to McCann Worldgroup Chairman-CEO Bill Kolb to push “forward an aggressive approach to make the systemic and structural changes necessary to ensure employees, as well as clients and the consumers the agency’s clients serve, feel seen, heard, represented and respected in the workplace, marketplace and their communities.”
“As we move forward into 2021, it is critical that we have the right people at the forefront of our senior leadership team making key decisions about our business and our future,” Kolb says. “There is another discipline that is equally as important as strategy, creative, account leadership and production, and that is diversity and engagement, which is my top priority moving forward.”
Before McCann, Beato led diversity and inclusion strategy for the American Association of Advertising Agencies and was the director of human resources for J. Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) prior to that. Among her accomplishments thus far at McCann, the agency credits her as “the visionary” behind its annual “Day For Meaning” event that is aimed at bringing “individual and collective accountability to disrupt and shift daily behaviors and decisions that have traditionally been barriers to inclusion."
Publicis Groupe in possible sale talks
Campaign reports that Publicis Groupe is in talks to possibly sell to a private equity investor, though no formal discussions or negotiations have taken place yet. Still, Campaign writes that holding company leadership had in-person talks in Paris with at least one “European-based” investor. Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners—one of Europe’s largest private equity firms that manages $82 billion of assets—is thought to be the most likely investor in talks with Publicis, according to Campaign. Both parties declined comment to the publication. This wouldn’t be the first time Publicis has considered a sale. In 2013, the holding company, under the leadership of former CEO Maurice Levy, agreed to a $35 billion merger with Omnicom Group, only to have it scrapped before completion.
‘Banned for life’
What was meant to be a funny 2020 holiday card poking fun at the horrible year we all endured ended up getting one agency “pretty much banned for life” from eBay, according to them. The card in question was really more of a stunt by CDM New York, part of Omnicom Health Group, in which it put “The Year 2020” up for sale on the platform. The starting price? One penny. Condition? “Extremely used, barely functional,” the agency wrote. Product description? CDM wrote “missing parts, glitch in climate control,” among other faulty functions. The page ended with a hopeful message from the agency at least: “Please check back for our upcoming listing of a mint-condition, high-end 2021.” It’s not clear how long the page lasted before eBay pulled it, sending CDM a message that was reviewed by Ad Age stating: “Your eBay account has been permanently suspended.” The platform did not return a request for comment.
“I asked the team for a simple holiday card,” says David Stemler, executive creative director for CDM New York. “They replied by asking, ‘Can’t we just sell 2020 on eBay?’ That was the easiest ‘yes’ I’ve ever said.” Stemler doesn't seem to have any regrets.
‘More than just a DE&I initiative that checks a box’
TPN, an Omnicom Group-owned creative commerce agency, says it is launching OmniBlack, a new initiative intended to “double down” on the shop’s commitment to the Black community, “inside and outside its walls.” The initiative is being helmed by TPN Executive Creative Director Elaine Bragg, backed by a team of Black colleagues. TPN CEO Sharon Love says OmniBlack’s purpose is to be “more than just a DE&I initiative that checks a box.” It carries seven key areas of focus including connecting with other DE&I groups, both inside and outside Omnicom; “creating a culture that unequivocally rejects racism and all other -isms”; fostering more diverse and inclusive recruitment and hiring practices; creating more “focused and empathetic” mentorships and sponsorships; reflecting DE&I in all TPN products as well as in the creative work; building the agency’s “multicultural capabilities so it can authentically serve clients with diverse targets”; and seeking out BIPOC-owned, led and consumer-targeted businesses to help them drive growth. The agency says the initiative will be available for any Omnicom agency to access, not just TPN.
Bragg says in the days following the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer, she and the TPN team started having conversations with leadership and employees around what they could do to “truly create change. The problem with racism in America is unavoidable. It is in your face,” she says. What came out of those talks were the aforementioned seven actions “to really promote economic development for Black people,” Bragg says, though she admits “when we first got together to put a structure around OmniBlack, it felt overwhelming and difficult to digest, especially as a Black female leader in the industry.” Bragg says she “drew upon the idea of eating an elephant one bit at a time. We know that change cannot happen overnight, but with dedicated leaders and a real commitment from our agency, we know we can break through and make a real difference.”
Brief hiring mentions
O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul named Aubrey Walker to the new role of executive creative director, handing him the reins of the independent agency’s creative department from Chief Creative Officer Laura Fegley, who left in September. Walker has led recent work at the agency for The Illinois Lottery including its online interactive “Watch Claude” holiday film and experience. Walker, who joined full-time last February after working as a freelancer for OKRP, is also credited by the agency for launching its “Black Shop Friday” that supported more than 500 Black-owned businesses in Chicago. He previously spent time at shops including Carol H. Williams, Burrell and The True Agency.
3HeadedMonster, an independent agency in Dallas, hired Elisa Silva as a partner and managing director. She hails from Cheil North America, where she was head of content. Silva says she moved back to her hometown of Dallas from New York—where she spent nearly a decade working for agencies like Translation, Barton F. Graf and SS+K—last year, admitting as “a Mexican-American woman and long-time creative agency vet,” she was “nervous” about whether DE&I would “matter to people here the way it does on the coasts. Would I find an agency that lived up to my previous credentials? Would I be able to do award-winning work?” Silva says, so far, 3HeadedMonster “is showing me a whole lot of ‘yes.’”
Accenture promoted Stacey Jones from head of global corporate communications to senior managing director. Jones will now join the top officers of the consulting behemoth. She has been with Accenture for over 20 years, having first come aboard as a senior media relations manager in 1999. The firm credits her with most recently leading global communications across its 500,000-person workforce and overseeing the appointment of its new leadership team including CEO Julie Sweet, who took the helm in 2019. Accenture says she was also instrumental in the development of its recent and largest brand transformation, “Let There Be Change.”
Bounteous appointed Melinda Ramos as VP of learning and diversity. The Chicago-based digital agency says Ramos will focus on “a wide scope of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including the creation, promotion and delivery of effective growth and development opportunities across the organization.” Ramos joins from Philadelphia-based Brownstein Group, where she was VP and director of talent and diversity.