Saatchi ad boss Kevin Roberts resigns after gender row

Lynsey Barber
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Kevin Roberts has resigned from Publicis agency Saatchi and Saatchi (Source: Getty)

One of advertising's top bosses has resigned after a storm surrounding comments he made about women working in the industry.

Saatchi and Saatchi chairman Kevin Roberts, who had been put on a "leave of absence" by the agency's owner Publicis Groupe, has said he will leave the company at the start of September. He had planned to retire in May next year.

Roberts, also head coach for the French advertising group, claimed the issue of gender was over at the creative agency and that it doesn't spend "any time" on the matter, among other comments. They were met with concern from many leaders in the advertising industry - both men and women.

Publicis boss Maurice Levy distanced himself and the company from the comments. The firm said in a statement over the weekend that it does not "tolerate anyone speaking for our organisation who does not value the importance of inclusion".

Read more: Saatchi chief Kevin Roberts dared to be honest about gender diversity

In a statement from Roberts seen by Business Insider, the publication he had originally made the comments to in an interview, he apologised for the offence caused.

"'Fail Fast, Fix Fast, Learn Fast' is a leadership maxim I advocate," he said.

"When discussing with Business Insider evolving career priorities and new ways of work/life integration, I failed exceptionally fast. My miscommunication on a number of points has caused upset and offence, and for this I am sorry."

He also apologised to colleagues, staff and clients and for causing embarrassment to Saatchi and Saatchi and Publicis.

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