Each year, D&AD, the London-based advertising awards organization that hands out the coveted Black Pencil, chooses a new president. Today, D&AD appointed Naresh Ramchandani, Pentagram partner and co-founder of creative agencies Karmarama and St Lukes, as president.
Hours later, Public Digital CEO Ben Terrett said in a blog post that he “should have been announced” as D&AD’s latest president today. Terrett, who’s served as deputy president of the organization for the past year, went on to explain that he was offered the role, as is customary, but that he ultimately decided against taking it to clear the way for a candidate who isn’t a white man.
“I’ve been the Deputy President for a year and every other year the Deputy becomes the President,” Terrett wrote. “But I look around at the world and I see too many people who look like me, middle-aged white men, in positions like this. So I’ve decided to stand aside and make space for others.”
Terrett said he hopes this “small act encourages other people” who look like him to do the same. “It may achieve nothing, but it at least gives everyone an example to point at,” he wrote.
Terrett will remain a trustee at D&AD. In his post, he stressed that his decision is “not a criticism of D&AD.” He told Adweek that “there is no subtext and no issue with D&AD,” stating that the organization “has been and continues to be amazing.”
Tim Lindsay, chairman of D&AD, said in a statement that the organization respects Terrett’s “decision and the statement he’s making.”
Cindy Gallop, diversity advocate and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, praised Terrett’s decision on Twitter. “WELL BLOODY DONE Ben,” she tweeted. “This is a huge, and truly inspirational, sacrifice.”