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IPG fires Campbell Ewald CEO Jim Palmer amid staffer's racist memo controversy

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By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

January 29, 2016 | 3 min read

Interpublic Group has terminated Campbell Ewald chief executive Jim Palmer's contract effective "immediately".

In a two-sentence statement released today (29 January) the holding group said: "Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) announced that it has terminated Jim Palmer, the chief executive of Campbell Ewald, effectively immediately. Leadership of the organization will be assumed by Kevin Wertz, the agency's President."

An IPG spokesman told The Drum that the company would not supply further comment on Palmer's departure.

The news follows an Agency Spy story which revealed that one of Campbell Ewald's creative directors had sent a racist email to each member of his team at the the firm's San Antonio office.

The message included text which invited staff to take part in "Ghetto Day".

It read: "Also please share with the teams that today is officially Ghetto Day in the SA, and we're inviting our Big D homebitches to cycle in and pop a freak with us."

"Ghetto music, Malt 45s at lunch, and of course, drugs and prostitution are legal all day until close of business. Word, my cerebral gangsters," the employee added.

According to AdAge, the agency did not immediately terminate the creative director who circulated the memo. A source familiar with the matter told Agency Spy that the staffer in question had been fired four months after pressing send.

Following the leak, Palmer said: “This email is in no way reflective of who we are as an agency and what we stand for. We addressed this matter very seriously when it happened back in October.

"To those that were hurt and offended by this language, we sincerely apologise.”

The Drum has reached out to Palmer, who has been chief executive since 2013, for comment, but at the time of publication he had not yet issued a reponse.

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