Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts resigns

Kevin Roberts Image copyright Saatchi & Saatchi
Image caption Mr Roberts was born and educated in Lancaster, England

Embattled Saatchi and Saatchi executive director Kevin Roberts has resigned following a gender diversity row.

In a brief statement, the company's parent group, Publicis, said he would leave in September.

Mr Roberts had said the lack of women in leadership roles was not "a problem" in the advertising industry.

Following the announcement of his resignation, the 66-year-old said he had "inadvertently embarrassed" the company with his "miscommunication".

Mr Roberts had said in an interview that the "debate is all over" about gender diversity in the advertising industry.

He said that rather than holding ambitions to progress into the higher echelons of management, many women - and men - simply wanted to be happy and "do great work".

The head of Publicis, Maurice Levy, condemned the comments. He said the remarks were contrary to the company's ethos of "Vive la Difference".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday, Kate Stanners, global chief creative officer at Saatchi and Saatchi, rejected the suggestion that women lacked ambition - saying Mr Roberts's comments had upset a "huge" number of employees.

She said women "don't bail out, and do want the top jobs".

Statistics compiled by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and published in January suggested women held about 32% of senior management positions at Saatchi and Saatchi.

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