It looks like former JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez and WPP are going to have to come clean about what Martinez’s exact role has been at the holding company since he was forced out of JWT last year (albeit having officially resigned) in the wake of a sex harassment and retaliation law suit.
The Federal judge presiding over the suit—filed by JWT Chief Communications Officer Erin Johnson--has ordered both WPP and Martinez to hand over documents detailing his role and compensation. In the order, issued Wednesday, Judge James Francis reasoned that those details are relevant to Johnson’s retaliation claims.
Martinez’s continuing role at the company has been a sensitive issue for WPP, which has maintained, as has Martinez, that the latter has been engaged in “project” work for the company in Europe. Why he has been retained in any capacity has been a provocative question for some given the circumstances surrounding his departure from JWT.
And last week, Johnson’s legal team told the court they believed that both Martinez and WPP CEO Martin Sorrell essentially lied about the former’s role in depositions taken under oath when both claimed Martinez’s role was limited to project work. Johnson’s attorney’s cited trade press articles indicating that Martinez has had a bigger role—head of WPP’s operations in Spain—since the beginning of the year.
Johnson, through her lawyers, had filed a motion, asking the court to force both Sorrell and Martinez to give further deposition testimony in order to quiz both executives on Martinez’s role at WPP and other issues related to the case.
The court let Sorrell off the hook, ruling that there is no further need for him to be deposed. But the judge ordered that Martinez return to New York for another full day of testimony.
In his ruling, Judge Francis wrote that the details concerning Martinez’s post-JWT employment at WPP are relevant “in connection with plaintiff’s claim of retaliation by the Corporate Defendants based on how they treated defendant Martinez in relation to how they treated her.”