They say the year 2020 is all about transitions. This is certainly true for Richards Group founder Stan Richards, who after making a racist comment during an internal creative review last week, was forced to transition himself out of the iconic Dallas agency.
In a just-released statement, The Richards Group said that effective immediately, Glenn Dady, a CD for the shop “will assume full responsibility for all agency operations, creative oversight and new business efforts for the agency.” Dady last year had been named successor to Richards, who is now in his late 80s. The statement noted that “concurrent with this shift, Richards will step away from all operations.”
“If this was a publicly held company, I’d be fired for the comments I made. But we’re not public, so I am firing myself,” said Richards in the statement. “Our employees, first and foremost, deserve that.”
In the statement, Richards continued: “I made a mistake. The biggest mistake of my life. One I will never be able to adequately explain or take back. All I can say is that I was wrong.”
The uproar began last week when the founder deemed an ad concept, that celebrated Black artists, for Motel 6 was “too Black” and that it risked alienating the chain’s “white supremacist constituents.”
Since then, a longtime clients have cut ties, including Motel 6, Home Depot, Keurig Dr Pepper, Orkin, H.E.B. and Advance Auto Parts.
According to Ad Age, the agency also said that the shop is committing to six initiatives to “ensure diversity, equity and inclusion within the agency.” They include: Adding a new post dedicated to “influence agency decisions regarding diversity equity and inclusion”; committing to “specific representation across all disciplines and leadership; “auditing current policies to make sure they are equitable”; implement place-bias training; review all work to ensure it is “culturally relevant” and “commit to tracking its progress.”
There is no question that Richards had no choice but to leave the agency. The real test will come if the remaining clients choose to stay.
SOURCE: Ad Age