Erin Johnson reemerges as communications chief at startup

Exec gained notoriety after filing sexual harassment suit against JWT's former global CEO Gustavo Martinez

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Gifnote CCO Erin Johnson
Gifnote CCO Erin Johnson Credit: Business Wire

Former JWT chief communications officer Erin Johnson has reemerged -- she is now chief communications officer at music messaging startup Gifnote.

Johnson resigned from JWT in April after parent company WPP settled the sexual harassment lawsuit she had brought against then-global JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez, which alleged racist, sexist and anti-Semitic comments.

The lawsuit sparked an uproar in the ad industry, including on-stage discussions at the 4A's annual meeting and Cannes Lions festival and internal initiatives at agencies and other companies. Many other allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the industry followed, leading to numerous departures of big-name creatives from their agencies. Martinez himself parted ways with WPP two months after the settlement.

Johnson will oversee marketing communications strategy and execution for the company, which describes itself as a "music app that uses proprietary technology allowing people to pair and share Songbytes — byte-sized music clips — of the world's most popular songs with GIFs, videos and photos."

In a company statement, Johnson called Gifnote "an intriguing, innovative brand rooted at the intersection of music, technology and the universal need for authentic human connection" and "a brand of the future."

Andy Blacker, CEO and co-founder of Gifnote, said in a statement Johnson is "highly respected as a strategic communications leader and we have long admired her work and integrity."

"Her work is driven by creative excellence and a sharp understanding of today's digital media landscape and economy," he said.

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