A MultiCultClassics visitor pointed to the Omnicom Group 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders held on May 18 in Lakewood, Colorado. The associated report featured a particularly pathetic passage on page 45:
Item 4 — Shareholder Proposal Regarding Annual Disclosure of EEO-1 Data
Representatives of the New York City Comptroller (the “Comptroller”), on behalf of the New York City Pension Funds, 1 Centre Street, New York, NY 10007, have advised that the New York City Pension Funds are the beneficial owner of 475,187 shares of Omnicom common stock and that the Comptroller intends to introduce a proposal for the consideration of shareholders at the 2015 Annual Meeting, the text of which reads as follows.
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors adopt and enforce a policy requiring Omnicom Group Inc. (“Omnicom,” or the “Company”) to disclose its EEO-1 data – a comprehensive breakdown of its workforce by race and gender according to 10 employment categories – on its website, beginning in 2015.
Despite federal and state laws forbidding employment discrimination on the basis of race, allegations of racial discrimination persists in some industries; and in recent years, a number of companies have agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle allegations of racial discrimination.
The advertising industry, of which the Company is a part, is characterized by the persistent and pervasive underrepresentation of minorities, particularly in senior positions. A recent study entitled, “Research Perspectives on Race and Employment in the Advertising Industry” (Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc. 2009), found that:
• Racial disparity is 38% worse in the advertising industry than in the overall U.S. labor market;
• The “discrimination divide” between advertising and other U.S. industries is more than twice as wide as it was 30 years ago;
• Black college graduates working in advertising earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by their equally-qualified White counterparts;
• About 16% of large advertising firms employ no Black managers or professionals, a rate 60% higher than in the overall labor market; and
• Black managers and professionals in the industry are only one-tenth as likely as their White counterparts to earn $100,000 a year.
Numerous studies have found that workplace diversity provides a competitive advantage by generating diverse, valuable perspectives, creativity and innovation, increased productivity and morale, while eliminating the limitations of “groupthink.”
In opposing this proposal when previously presented, Omnicom agreed “that workplace diversity creates value for the Company and fosters a positive corporate culture,” according to its 2012 and 2013 Proxy Statements. The Company emphasizes its commitment to recruiting, retaining and promoting minorities and women, and its website points to a set of specific initiatives. But without quantitative disclosure, shareholders have no way to evaluate and benchmark the effectiveness of these efforts.
Federal law requires companies with 100 or more employees to annually submit an EEO-1 Report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The report profiles a company’s workforce by race and gender according to 10 job categories, including senior management.
Disclosure of the Company’s EEO-1 data would allow shareholders to evaluate the effectiveness of its efforts to increase the diversity of its workforce throughout its ranks, and at minimal cost. In addition, we believe full disclosure of the Company’s EEO-1 data would drive management and the Board to pursue continuous improvements in the Company’s diversity programs, fully integrate diversity into its culture and practices, and strengthen its reputation and accountability to shareholders.
We urge shareholders to vote FOR the proposal, which received support averaging 30% of votes cast in 2012 and 2013.
This is neither new nor news. New York City Comptroller John Liu and Sanford Moore continue to demand that Omnicom literally and figuratively reveal its true colors. And Omnicom continues to deflect accountability via spokespuppets of color.
The response to the proposal demonstrated classic dodging, deferring, denying and delegating diversity. The Board of Directors unanimously recommended voting against the proposal, pointing to all the clichéd, contrived and conniving crap as proof of progress.
For example, Omnicom employs Directors of Diversity and Chief Diversity Officers in every network—along with a Senior Vice President Chief Diversity Officer in the Caucasian corporate office. Alas, there’s no meaningful and measurable evidence of success being generated by the patronizing appointments. It’s hard out here for a pimp.
Other types of propagandistic smokescreens include colorblind committees, minority scholarships, inclusive internships and tax-deductible donations to ADCOLOR®—which happens to be the pet project of Omnicom’s SVP CDO. Why, the holding company even has a special “strategic insights organization” focused on equality for White women.
Most outrageous is the board’s recognition of Omnicom President-CEO John Wren being crowned a Pioneer of Diversity. Pioneer of Diversion would be a more accurate title.
The report went on to state, “The proposal requests release of information that would not be informative and could harm the Company.” Why would an enterprise employing Directors of Diversity and Chief Diversity Officers, utilizing diversity committees, offering diversity scholarships and internships, paying diversity donations to ADCOLOR®, spiking diversity numbers with White women and running under the guidance of a Pioneer of Diversity be so afraid of displaying its actual diversity?
The agencies within the Omnicom network are always quick to hype positive ROI. What’s the return on investment for the numerous diversity initiatives bankrolled by Omnicom?