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Brands Need To Have A Sense Of Purpose: JWT CEO Tamara Ingram

By gouri shah
Mint, New Delhi

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Tamara Ingram, global chief executive officer of J. Walter Thompson, discusses why diversity is important and how brands can navigate the new media environment.

Mint, New Delhi

Tamara Ingram’s appointment as the global chief executive officer of J. Walter Thompson earlier this year broke the proverbial glass ceiling.

She had her work cut out as she took over the reins from Gustavo Martinez, the former CEO who was sued by an employee for allegedly making sexist and racial comments.

Ingram previously served as chief client team officer at WPP, responsible for overseeing all of the group’s global account teams, which represented a third of the group’s $20 billion revenue.

In India to meet employees and clients, considered to be one of JWT’s “most important offices globally”, Ingram talks about how she dealt with the responsibility, why diversity is important, and how brands can navigate the new media environment.

Edited excerpts from an interview:
Question: You probably had little time to prepare for your new role at JWT. What was that transition like?

A: In all honesty, it’s an extraordinary honor to be asked to be the CEO of J. Walter Thompson and Co. It is the oldest advertising agency in the world. And when you think it’s a great privilege, it’s (the job and the responsibility) only a joy.

What I saw is a wonderful company with a great opportunity that had done extraordinary things for many of our clients over the years. This is a great gift and, in a way, I see leadership about bringing out that magic of the gift.

Question: Following the lawsuit, there must have been concerns and questions from employees as well as clients.

A: All companies go through a period of change. And in any change, the first task is to stabilize and to make sure that you ensure that people who are there are feeling the best they could possibly be. This is true of all relationships–clients and stakeholders. But interestingly, it (the lawsuit) enabled us to think about talent.

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