Adam & Eve/DDB's new DE&I chief warns that diversity is being 'deprioritised'

Bukola Garry has joined the Omnicom agency from Havas.

Garry: joins from Havas
Garry: joins from Havas

Adam & Eve/DDB's first head of diversity, equality and inclusion has said that agencies risk losing out on client briefs if they do not work to create inclusive environments in the workplace.

Bukola Garry, who joined the agency this week, warned that progress in this area is already slowing down since the height of the Black Lives Matter movement last year and that "diversity and inclusion is being deprioritised after just a matter of months".

She told Campaign: "It just shows that there's more work to be done on the core understanding of how this impacts people who work in agencies. It's their day-to-day experiences that we need to consider, and in an industry that is driven by clients, it feels a bit disjointed."

Garry added that adland's lack of progress means that an increasing number of people of colour are setting up on their own to work with brands, which means that agencies risk losing out on this work.

She said: "Brands are going to start working directly with the people who are missing in these agency groups so I think while something happened [after the Black Lives Matter movement] definitely, a lot of it was reactive as opposed to responsive.

"There's an opportunity to really take stock in terms of the learnings and thinking about the infrastructure that is needed around diversity, equality and inclusion."

Garry joined Adam & Eve/DDB this week from Havas, where she had been diversity and inclusion manager since 2018.

The Omnicom agency has created the role as part of plans to "embed its pro-actively anti-racist and positively inclusive philosophy at the heart of its business".

Other agencies to create similar positions recently include Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which last month promoted HR director Kelly Knight to become its first chief diversity and HR officer.

Garry reports to joint chief executives Tammy Einav and Mat Goff, and will work with other DDB Group agencies such as Cain & Abel, Gutenberg and DDB Remedy.