NEW YORK: The Interpublic Group (IPG), the holding company for some of the world's largest PR firms, has named Hiede Gardner to the newly created post of director of diversity.
As the PR industry has long been criticized for lacking racial and ethnic diversity, many have called for more recruitment and development of minority talent.
IPG, which owns agencies Weber Shandwick, Golin/Harris and the MWW Group, among others, announced the formation of a diversity task force at a shareholder's meeting earlier this year. The task force is led by associate general counsel Marjorie Hoey and HR director Brian Brooks. Gardner's appointment marks the first full-time employee dedicated to the company's diversity initiative.
Gardner will work with senior management at various firms on efforts to attract female and multicultural talent, as well as the implementation of diversity- training programs for all employees. In addition, Gardner will work with minority businesses, opinion leaders, and clients to implement IPG's diversity initiatives.
Prior to IPG, Gardner was executive director of the American Advertising Federation's (AAF) Mosaic Center of Multiculturalism, where she created the Mosaic Counsel, a diversity think tank for ad-industry leaders. She also created the Most Promising Minority Students Program, a recruitment effort, and other networking events for young marketing pros.
"The AAF provided me with a wonderful platform and support to build awareness of these important issues," Gardner said in an IPG statement. "[IPG CEO] David Bell has long been a proponent of diversity and was, in fact, among the first honorees to receive the Mosaic Award. I very much look forward to the opportunity to take Interpublic and its many fine companies to the next level."