Workplace diversity

Major advertising exec who said women lack ‘vertical ambition’ is placed on leave

Kevin Roberts at the Quattroruote Magazine Car of the Year Meeting held at Palazzo Mezzanotte on January 29, 2008 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

The chairman of London-based advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi has been placed on leave following his remarks that women lack “vertical ambition” in the workplace. Saatchi’s parent company, Publicis Groupe, said it will “further evaluate” the standing of executive chairman Kevin Roberts while Roberts is on leave due to the gravity of his remarks. The company reiterated its “no-tolerance policy towards behavior or commentary counter to the spirit of Publicis Groupe.”

Roberts made the dismissive comments about gender equality in the workplace in an interview with Business Insider on Friday, during which he said the “The [expletive] debate is all over,” about gender equality in the workplace and that the company has trouble promoting women because women don’t want to manage people.

“So we are trying to impose our antiquated shit on them, and they are going: ‘Actually guys, you’re missing the point, you don’t understand: I’m way happier than you.’ Their ambition is not a vertical ambition, it’s this intrinsic, circular ambition to be happy. So they say: ‘We are not judging ourselves by those standards that you idiotic dinosaur-like men judge yourself by.’ I don’t think [the lack of women in leadership roles] is a problem. I’m just not worried about it because they are very happy, they’re very successful, and doing great work. I can’t talk about sexual discrimination because we’ve never had that problem, thank goodness.”

Read the full story at Fortune.


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