Gustavo Martinez is out at JWT. Tamara Ingram, currently chief client team officer at WPP, has been appointed CEO of the agency with immediate effect.
WPP said Martinez resigned "by mutual agreement," in "the best interest" of the agency.
Clearly, Martinez was under pressure to do so since a lawsuit was filed last week by his Chief Communications Officer Erin Johnson, charging Martinez with sex harassment, retaliation and other misconduct, including making repeated sexist, racist and anti-Semitic remarks.
Shortly after the suit was filed, Martinez issued a statement strongly denying all of the charges. Today, however, he declined to say anything beyond the "mutual agreement" statement issued by WPP.
Martinez’s ouster occurred just days after JWT hired a top New York lawyer, Bettina Plevan, to investigate the embattled CEO’s conduct. That development occurred earlier this week at around the time that Johnson amended her complaint, seeking permission from the New York federal judge handling the case to submit a DVD recording of a corporate meeting that backed up some of her charges.
Martinez joined JWT as global president in early 2014 and then succeeded Bob Jeffrey as global CEO in January 2015.
At the time that Martinez’s appointment to global president at the agency was announced, Jeffrey stated: “Over the past few years, Gustavo and I have cultivated a relationship of mutual admiration and respect. He is passionate about the business, devoted to clients and understands that the key asset of the business is the caring, nurturing and understanding of its people.”
Martinez, declared Jeffrey, “is the future of JWT.” It was a future that lasted about two years, not a long time, thankfully if Johnson's allegations are true (and who in their right mind would make up stuff like that), in the century-and-a-half-plus history of one of Adland's iconic agency brands.
Martinez joined JWT from Interpublic’s McCann Worldgroup, where he was president, Europe and Asia. Earlier, the native Argentinian worked at Ogilvy & Mather and Saatchi & Saatchi.
At Ogilvy Martinez was global director of global brand management and new business director at O&M Worldwide. During his career, he has lived and worked in several European outposts, as well as the U.S. and Canada.
He grew up in Spain and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Universidad de Barcelona.
In 2015, Ingram was named WPP’s chief client team officer, overseeing the Group’s 45 global account teams, representing one-third of the Group’s $20 billion of revenues.
Prior to that, Ingram was president and chief executive officer of Team P&G, a position she held since 2007. She joined WPP’s wholly owned data investment division, Kantar, in 2003.
Following WPP’s acquisition of Grey Global Group in 2005, she joined that agency as Grey UK’s group CEO. There, she was also global leader on the P&G account. Before that, Ingram served as chief executive officer of McCann Worldgroup in London. She began her career at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1985 as a temp, rising to chief executive of the London office, before leaving for McCann Worldgroup.
George Rogers succeeds Ingram as WPP’s chief client team officer, in addition to his current duties as WPP’s global business development director.