Stan Richards, 88-year-old founder and CEO of The Richards Group, tendered his resignation on Thursday (10/15) after clients including Motel 6, Home Depot, Keurig Dr Pepper and Cracker Barrel ended their longstanding ties to the agency due to a racist remark he made during a creative meeting. The session was held to discuss ideas for Motel 6; Richards reportedly objected to one concept because “it’s too Black.”
Richards issued a statement explaining that he misspoke while trying to say that the idea wasn’t multiculturally inclusive enough. He apologized and expressed deep regret, acknowledging that his words were hurtful and offensive.
Succeeding Richards in terms of overseeing all agency operations is principal/creative director Glenn Dady. A statement from Dady on The Richards Group website read: “In the over four decades I have had the privilege of working at The Richards Group, the agency has never been party to nor tolerated racism in any form. We exist to endear brands to all people. Our brand has been tarnished. Like all businesses and organizations, we have a lot of work to do to further societal change. As the person now responsible for all the operations of The Richards Group going forward, I commit to doing everything in my power to stay focused on that goal.
“We understand and regret,” continued Dady, “the pain and concerns of all those who were deeply troubled by the words our founder spoke. He can’t take them back. We can only ask for forgiveness and promise to learn and be better. We ask our many friends for understanding and prayers as we move forward.”
Part of moving forward entails six key measures which The Richards Group is implementing. The agency has pledged to:
- Create a new position to influence agency decisions regarding diversity, equity and inclusion
- Execute a formal commitment to specific representation across all disciplines and leadership
- Audit current policies to ensure that they are equitable to all employees
- Conduct bias training for every one of our employees
- Review all current work to ensure that it is culturally relevant
- And commit to tracking our progress
At one point, Stan Richards was named one of The Wall Street Journal’s “Giants of Our Time” in advertising. He’s won virtually every major creative award in the world of advertising. In 1999 he was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame, where he joined such luminaries as Walt Disney, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol.