Inside Dallas ad agency The Richards Group, whose founder just stepped down after a racist remark caused clients like Home Depot and Motel 6 to flee

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Stan Richards, the founder of Dallas-based ad agency The
Richards Group, stepped down today after reports that he made
racist remarks in a meeting last week.

Richards said in a statement that since he would have been fired
at a publicly held company, he was firing himself. Creative
director and 40-year agency veteran Glenn Dady will take over
agency operations.

Richards and Dady made the announcement at a remote, all-staff
meeting. One person who attended said Richards told employees he
would be “a stranger to the company.” This person also said that
layoffs were expected and that the agency would support anyone who
chose to leave.

According to multiple reports, Richards responded last Thursday
to an idea for a multicutural ad for longtime client Motel 6 by
saying “It’s too Black,” adding that the ad might offend or
alienate Motel 6’s “white supremacist constituents.” The news was
first
reported by Ad Age
.

With close to 700 employees, The Richards Group describes itself
as the largest independent ad agency in the US. It has been owned
by a nonprofit since December 2019, when Richards announced his
succession plan.

Richards apologized to staff on Friday, but several of The
Richards Group’s largest clients, including Motel 6, Home Depot and
Keurig Dr Pepper, have left the agency.

The turn of events caused some surprise at the agency. First,
Richards said earlier this week that he was prepared to step down
for the good of the company. But then Dady backtracked, saying the
company would be better with him in place. A spokeswoman said they
felt the decision deserved more time.

One employee said some senior leaders met with Dady and
pressured him to convince Richards to step down.

Another said they felt the company only acted after clients
dropped the agency and that decisive action last week would have
felt very different.

“[Stan’s] not willfully racist; he’s behind the times, and he
made a mistake,” the employee said. “But the responses to those
comments, even if they were made in error, have to be unequivocal.
We didn’t feel the strength of leadership in that moment, and we
craved it.”

“When a man whose name is on the building says something that
can destroy the brand, there’s no playbook for that,” they
said.

The agency said it would create a new diversity position in
response to the controversy as well as conduct an audit and commit
to a certain level of diverse representation, conduct bias training
work, and review campaigns to ensure they are culturally
relevant.

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Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
Inside Dallas ad agency The Richards Group, whose founder
just stepped down after a racist remark caused clients like Home
Depot and Motel 6 to flee