Neil French offers to quit WPP after sexist comments

LONDON - WPP Group worldwide creative director Neil French is reportedly leaving the holding company after making sexist comments.

French gave a speech in Toronto this month in which he was asked why women were under-represented among the top ranks of creative directors.

He replied: "Because they're crap"

A WPP spokeswoman told Brand Republic that French had offered his resignation, but was still employed by the company.

French was not immediately available for comment.

Nancy Vonk, co-chief creative officer at WPP's Ogilvy agency in Toronto, wrote an angry column denouncing his comments.

"What struck me so hard as he described a group that will inevitably wimp out and 'go suckle something' after their short stint in advertising, was that in his honest opinion he was voicing the inner thoughts of legions of men in the senior ranks of our business," she wrote on the website

French was made available to all of WPP's operating companies on a consulting basis for group clients in 2003.
At the time of appointment he described his new position as similar to that of a "creative godfather" -- the religious as opposed to the Cosa Nostra mafia variety.

"Your godfather is someone you go to with problems when you can't talk to your dad. He can advise and guide without too much of an eye on what is acceptable or correct. Everybody needs a godfather." he said.

French began his advertising career in the UK, working as a copywriter for Holmes Knight Ritchie in the late 70s and early 80s, having left his own start-up agency, Blacker Hyde, in Birmingham.

In 1983, he relocated to Singapore as a creative director for Ogilyy & Mather. After leaving to work for a spell at Batey Advertising and the Ball Partnership, he rejoined O&M's network as a regional creative director.

Five years later, he became the worldwide creative director in Singapore.

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