THURSDAY 6 APR 2017 12:34 PM

A WARMER SHADE OF GREY

Global advertising agency, Grey Group, has seen international success since its inception in 1917 with offices in 96 countries, a revenue of over £1bn and trailblazing direction under multinational organisation, WPP. Yet the company’s pioneering legacy was written on the bleak walls of a small Fifth Avenue New York studio long before its global outreach was established. Honouring this, Grey London makes the recent decision to rename itself Valenstein & Fatt for 100 days, a change that aims to promote the company’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Commenting on the change, the agency says, “Grey London is showing its commitment to diversity and openness by re-establishing itself under the name of its original Jewish founders.” Larry Valenstein and Arthur Fatt founded the agency during a time when racism, xenophobia and cultural intolerance persisted in more abject ways, particularly towards a diasporic Jewish community.

Naming the company after the colour of the studio wallpaper set the mark for a timeline of client acquisition and expansion for Grey, yet its glance back to previous times is just as much to do with its overall outlook as an organisation. Setting up a cross-industry taskforce to identify and establish the limitations of staff recruitment and retention among ethnic minorities led to its first meeting co-chaired along with Grey London chief executive, Leo Rayman, by former Equality and Human Rights Commission chairman, Trevor Phillips.

Likewise, the company’s efforts to promote diversity translate to a Valenstein & Fatt bursary that will pay for a year’s rent in London for up to two people from ethnic minority backgrounds, supported by further working opportunities at the agency.

Rayman says, "Recent events, from rising instances of hate crime and terror attacks in London to the triggering of Article 50, have sent shivers through our society and businesses, but it should also inspire a collective and determined attitude that our country and our companies will not change for the worse."

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