Kevin Roberts Is Back, Helping U.K. Comms Agency Beattie Expand Internationally

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Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts Credit: Duncan Cole/Saatchi & Saatchi

Kevin Roberts, the former Saatchi & Saatchi chairman and head coach of Publicis Groupe, has resurfaced as the chairman of PR group Beattie Communications.

Mr. Roberts, who resigned in the wake of controversial comments about gender diversity last summer, has been brought on board to help the little-known Beattie Group expand its Beattie and Only brands internationally. The agency currently has eight offices around the U.K. and recently announced plans to open three offices in Canada, in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

Beattie's press release boasts that seven of the company's ten-person leadership team are women. CEO Laurna Woods said in a statement, "We are delighted to have recruited one of the world's most inspirational business minds to help us expand in the U.K., North America and Australasia."

Mr. Roberts said in a statement, "Beattie's 2017 strategy is clear – recruit great people and open offices in line with client needs. We're in for some exciting times as we build the Beattie and Only brands internationally."

Only is Beattie's brand of specialist marketing boutiques which include Only Health, Only Retail, Only Tech, Only Student Recruitment and Only Crisis.

In July 2016, Mr. Roberts told Business Insider that "the fucking debate is all over" when asked about gender diversity in the ad industry, and added that he didn't spend "any time" on gender issues at his agencies. At the same time, he told the publication that former BBH exec Cindy Gallop, founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn and a vocal advocate on women's issues, was "making up a lot of the stuff to create a profile, and to take applause."

Mr. Roberts was placed on leave by Publicis Groupe in the wake of these remarks, and resigned soon afterwards. He had been due to retire in May 2017.

He added in the statement, "Beattie is a creative communications consultancy with enormous potential to grow internationally. We are an integrated marketing and communications company with foundations in PR, marketing, creativity, content, technology and data. We have no plans to become a traditional advertising agency.

Beattie Group was founded 30 years ago in Scotland by former journalist Gordon Beattie, who continues as president.

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