NEW YORK, NY (October 15, 2003) – The Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) announced today that it had named Heide Gardner to the newly-created post as Director of Diversity. In this position, Ms. Gardner, 46, will work with senior management at Interpublic and at its various agencies to undertake a comprehensive diversity initiative. That initiative will include efforts to bring more women and multicultural talent to Interpublic. The company also plans to launch training programs that will be implemented across Interpublic agencies. Ms. Gardner will also be charged with outreach to minority business and opinion leaders and she will work with key clients to coordinate Interpublic's diversity initiatives with those of leading U.S. marketers.
“During her seven years at the American Advertising Federation, Heide stepped to the fore as one of the leading voice in our industry in promoting diversity and an understanding of multicultural issues. She created AAF's influential Mosaic Counsel and Most Promising Minority Students Program. I was fortunate to co-chair the task force Heide led in 1999 and 2000 to engage marketing and advertising leaders in crafting guidelines and recommended practices for our industry in these important areas. We could not be more pleased that she has agreed to join us in this newly-created role,” said David Bell, Chairman and CEO of Interpublic.
“AAF provided me with a wonderful platform and the support to build awareness of these important issues,” said Ms. Gardner. “David Bell has long been a proponent of diversity and was, in fact, among the first honorees to receive the Mosaic Award. I very much look forward to the opportunity to take Interpublic and its many fine companies to the next level. Aside from working with the great management team, the challenge is so appealing because the scale of Interpublic means that as we can progress the entire industry. Moving our needle will move the needle for all advertising. "
Mr. Bell had identified diversity as an important priority for Interpublic at the company's annual shareholders' meeting earlier this year. “At that time, we announced the appointment of Marjorie Hoey, our Associate General Counsel, and Brian Brooks, our Director of Human Resources, to head a Diversity Task Force, reporting directly to me, to advise on the recruitment and advancement of women and minorities within Interpublic. Marge and Brian have made good progress to date. Among their recommendations was the creation of this new position, for which Heide is clearly the best possible candidate. I have long believed that our industry would benefit greatly from improving its record in terms of promoting diversity. Our announcement will, I hope, be a first step toward having Interpublic lead the way in achieving this important goal.”
Interpublic is one of the world's leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies. Its three global operating groups are McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, The Lowe + Draft Partnership, and the FCB Group. Major global brands include Draft, Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Golin/Harris International, Initiative Media, Lowe Worldwide, McCann-Erickson, Octagon, Universal McCann and Weber Shandwick Worldwide.