WPP CEO Mark Read took to Twitter to apologise after a row over his ageism remark during investor call announcing WPP’s H1 results.
On being asked by one of the investors if WPP has the right balance of people with skills in TV and digital, Read remarked, “We have a very broad range of skills, and if you look at our people – the average age of someone who works at WPP is less than 30 – they don’t hark back to the 1980s, luckily.”
The remark received sharp reactions on Twitter forcing Read to issue an apology. He said that he “was wrong to use age to try to make a point. People over 40 can do great digital marketing just as people under 30 can make great TV ads.”
“We’re fortunate to have thousands of people at WPP who have decades of experience and expertise. They’re extremely valuable to our business and the work we do for clients, and I’m sorry my reply suggested otherwise,” Read said.
Criticising Read’s remark, advertising consultant Cindy Gallop, in a series of tweets, wrote why she has been fighting #ageism in advertising for decades.
Why have I been fighting #ageism in advertising for decades? Because: "If you look at our people – the average age of someone who works at WPP is less than 30 – they don’t hark back to the 1980s, luckily.” @readmark @WPP @gideonspanier @campaignmag https://t.co/cfboaX2pUu— Cindy Gallop (@cindygallop) August 29, 2020
George Tannenbaum, former Copy Chief and ECD on IBM at Ogilvy, attacked on Read’s remark saying “It's not just Agism. It's Dumbism.”