Publicis Groupe is appointing Geraldine White as U.S. chief diversity officer to work alongside chief inclusion experience officer Renetta McCann in an effort to improve across all facets of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). White will focus on the Groupe’s talent and workforce, while McCann will concentrate on bringing DE&I expertise and counsel to clients.
As the internal lead, White will also oversee the Brain Trust, a Groupe-wide collective of talent dedicated to developing and expanding DE&I initiatives. She will also run the talent engagement and inclusion council and will guide the work done by Publicis Groupe’s business resource groups (BRGs).
The 13-year Groupe veteran most recently served as head of diversity and inclusion in North America for Publicis Sapient, where launched and led the organization’s Business Resource Group (BRG) and drove the development of its global DE&I strategy. She also managed its Global Black Talent Taskforce.
“I’m honored to accept this role that reflects my continued commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for people across a broad spectrum of diverse experiences, with care and consideration across the multitude of identities, to enable us to deliver on our promise of Viva La Difference for our teams, our company, our clients, and the communities that we exist in,” White said in a statement.
White’s elevation is the latest development of the company’s ongoing progress to diversify its network. Publicis released data tracking its year-over-year progress on Wednesday, reporting there has been a 5.5% in diverse talent versus last year, bringing its American total to 32.7% for its 21,000+ workforce. The number in entry-level positions was up 5% and mid-level positions up 8% compared to 2020 (though leadership remains lacking).
Still, Publicis has had a few setbacks, most notably in January, when Ronnie Dickerson Stewart quit her role as chief diversity officer after less than one year in the role. Dickerson stated in a LinkedIn post at the time that her decision was in “careful consideration” of the “inflection point we each are navigating, which calls for integrity, urgency and authenticity in both how we choose to lead and in how we each do our part to intentionally advance DE&I.”.
The Groupe then replaced her with McCann, who did not officially assume the title of chief diversity officer, but added all of Dickerson Stewart’s responsibilities.