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Saatchi & Saatchi Boss: Women don't want top jobs

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Women lack ambition and that is why they are not running giant advertising agencies. They do good work though, so there's that!

S&S executive chair Kevin Roberts is delusional. S&S global chief creative officer set him straight:

The chairman of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi has been placed on leave for claiming the gender bias within the advertising industry is no longer a problem.

In an interview with Business Insider, Kevin Roberts, 66, said “the fucking debate is all over,” referring to gender diversity in the advertising industry. He has held a senior position at Saatchi & Saatchi, which boasts 140 offices in 76 countries and over 6,500 staff, for almost 20 years and was appointed chief executive in 1997.

Roberts added that most women don’t want to assume leadership roles, that they are content to remain where they are and not progress up the ladder because they lack “vertical ambition.”

“I don’t think [the lack of women in leadership roles] is a problem,” he said. “I’m just not worried about it because they are very happy, they’re very successful, and doing great work.”

On Monday, Kate Stanners, Saatchi & Saatchi’s global chief creative officer, countered Roberts’ comments. Women “don't bail out, and do want the top jobs,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. Stanners added that the lack of female leaders was an “industry-wide problem.”

The advertising industry remains male-dominated. Recent statistics revealed that less than a third of women are in leadership positions—chair, chief executive or managing director—according to data from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the trade body for the U.K.’s media and marketing industry.

Saatchi’s parent company, Publicis Groupe, has distanced itself from Roberts’ comments.

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