IPG fires US agency CEO

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 1 February 2016
Credit: Ben Schumin

In a statement on the New York Stock Exchange IPG, one of the world's leading organisations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies, issued an announcement saying it had terminated Jim Palmer, the CEO of Campbell Ewald, effectively immediately, and that leadership of the organisation will be assumed by Kevin Wertz, the agency's president.

Palmer, has been with the company, which is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, with offices in Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio, for more than two decades.

According to Adweek, while the agency has not stated the reason behind the firing, the move comes just days after Adweek's AgencySpy blog revealed that a white creative leader at the agency's San Antonio office had sent an email in October 2015 inviting staffers to take part in "Ghetto Day." 

"Also please share with the teams that today is officially Ghetto Day in the SA, and we're inviting our Big D homebitches to cycle in and pop a freak with us," the email said. "Ghetto music, Malt 45s at lunch, and of course, drugs and prostitution are legal all day until close of business. Word, my cerebral gangsters,” it claimed the note read.

Shortly after it was revealed the San Antonio-based executive creative director behind the email – who had also worked at Saatchi & Saatchi and SapientNitro, among others - had been fired, months after it had first been spotted and addressed by executives.

After the story first ran, Adweek said that insurance and financial client USAA then terminated its contract with Campbell Ewald in order to search for "a new agency that aligns with USAA's culture and core values".

Even before this latest controversy, Adweek said the agency, which is more than 100 years old,had lost several major accounts in recent years.

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