Omnicom Pledges $1.25 Million to Minority-Hiring Initiative

Also Sets Up Advisory Committee to Identify, Attract Talent

By Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- Omnicom Group, the largest owner of ad agencies, detailed its plans for helping to improve the ad business' record for hiring minority employees.

As part of Omnicom's new diversity initiative, announced today at New York City Hall by Omnicom President-Chief Executive Officer John Wren, other Omnicom execs, and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Civil Rights Committee Chair Larry Seabrook, the company will pledge $1.25 million over five years and introduce a group of diversity experts dedicated to the cause.

New York investigation
Omnicom's intentions emerged last fall following a two-year probe by the city into Madison Avenue's spotty record of hiring minority staffers. In one of the biggest stories of 2006, city officials blasted the industry for under-representation of minorities in the work force and lack of minority-owned suppliers.

That investigation dealt subpoenas to a number of agencies owned by the major holding companies -- among them Omnicom's BBDO, DDB, PHD and Merkley & Partners -- who have since settled the allegations and are boosting efforts to recruit and hire minorities. The other holding companies arrived at a separate agreement.

The mission of the Omnicom Diversity Development Advisory Committee is to identify and attract minority talent to its agencies, develop outreach programs to elevate the profile of the ad industry within the minority community, and work with educational institutions to foster a talent pool of minority individuals.

Committee members
The DDAC is comprised of eight prominent business and community leaders, some who are also past and present Omnicom execs. They are:
  • H. Carl McCall (Chairman of the Omnicom DDAC), former New York State comptroller and cenator, and director of several corporate boards.
  • Darwin M. Davis Jr., president-CEO, New York Urban League.
  • R. Vann Graves, VP-associate creative director at Omnicom's BBDO; former co-chair of the executive board for the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Multicultural Advertising Intern Program.
  • James Mtume, radio personality and Grammy Award-winning producer.
  • Maria Valentina Nunes, marketing consultant and former senior director at Omnicom's Interbrand and president-chief operating officer of Desgrippes Gobe Group.
  • Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, and director of educational programming for Major League Baseball.
  • MarySol Rodriguez, VP-government affairs, Partnership for New York City, and member of the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
  • Tom W. Watson, former Omnicom vice chairman and dean, Omnicom University.
Priscilla A. Jenkins will serve as executive director of Omnicom's DDAC, while Weldon H. Latham, chair of the corporate diversity counseling group at Davis Wright Tremaine, will serve as legal counsel to Omnicom and counselor to the DDAC Chair.
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