In August, Jason Peterson called BBDO, Leo Burnett and FCB “shitty agencies.” Then he was Chief Creative Officer for Havas North America.
But as of today, no longer. Late Thursday afternoon, Havas Group issued a short statement indicating that Peterson is leaving Havas “on mutual agreement.”
In other words, he was shown the door.
“We thank Jason for his contributions to our organization in North America and wish him all the very best in the future,” per the statement.
I'm not sure I believe that, as the ouster comes a day after Ad Age did a piece on Havas Chicago that portrayed Peterson as kind of a dick. And a bully.
The story cited the experiences of several current and former employees who described the environment at Havas Chicago as one where the “cool kids” headed by Peterson, ruled the roost. And everyone else was, well, everyone else, and made to feel “mediocre.”
“I’ve never felt so belittled or bullied,” one unnamed source said.
That sounds like a pretty toxic workplace environment. The piece also noted the agency has TV screens scattered about, often tuned to Vice programming that sometimes was sexual in nature and/or about drugs. Loud music is often blaring in the hallways.
I can see where that might be distracting to the mission of doing actual work.
I wonder if Peterson’s ouster is the first step in a management overhaul at the Chicago office, where Havas Creative North America CEO and Chairman Paul Marobella is also based. Clearly, Peterson had his support. In fact, Marobella even appeared in the August video when Peterson was ranting about “shitty” agencies.