DDB boss Wendy Clark forced into embarrassing back track in Ted Royer affair

DDB global CEO Wendy Clark has resigned from Time’s Up, an organisation pledged to combat harassment and inequality at work, after admitting that she engaged former Droga5 CCO as a freelance to work on the ongoing VW global pitch. Royer is also reported to have worked on a DDB pitch for McDonald’s.

Clark (below) says: “Regrettably, I fell into a traditional paradigm of business first and given the choice again I would do things differently. That was a mistake.

“The reckoning for past behavior is not just for survivors of sexual harassment but for the whole industry which needs systemic change. I want to thank Times Up for being a moral compass, and supporting both our teams and me, personally, as we work through this defining moment, to ensure that in every way and everything we do our agency is a safe, fair and dignified place to work.

“To best support the critical work of Time’s Up Advertising, Lisa Topol, co-chief creative officer of DDB/NY, will assume my role on the Time’s Up Advertising steering committee during this time.”

Clark moved from Coca-Cola to DDB, initially as North America head and then global boss, offering two big benefits. As a highly respected former client she promised a safe pair of hands at a time when creative agencies are under pressure and, also, she’s a woman. In the wake of the Gustavo Martinez affair at JWT and numerous other instances of men suspended or sacked for supposed harassment, women are taking the majority of top jobs (many would say, not before time).

This new development shows, at best, a monumental failure of judgement on Clark’s part. And, for DDB, how desperate big agencies are to win big accounts.

But you have to feel for the highly talented Royer too. He’s lost one of the best jobs in agencies although hasn’t been convicted of anything. Is he now unable to work in advertising, even in a freelance capacity? Clark might have done better to defend him, not on the grounds that DDB needed him and but that everybody deserves a second chance.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

2 comments

  1. Couple of corrections here: she has not left the group entirely, contrary to Campaign’s inaccurate headline. She has only stepped down from its leadership committee.

    Also not sure where you guys got the McDonald’s part. We didn’t write that.

    Thanks,
    Patrick

  2. Sorry about that Patrick, removed.

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