26 May 2021 – Following the discussion around DEI at Cannes Lions and the Lions organisation, we would like to reiterate the apology to Abraham Abbi Asefaw, which we have made in public and now also to Abraham in person - and the many other individuals in the community that we may have hurt.
As an immediate step, the 2021 Roger Hatchuel Academy will be co-run by alumni members (from Kenya and Ecuador) alongside a course facilitator. It has been designed in conjunction with a network of academy graduates from a wide range of backgrounds. No other academies were planned for this year. In 2022, we will ensure that our pool of educators, across all our programmes, is appropriately diverse by implementing best hiring practices to ensure we have a diverse slate of candidates to choose from.
We acknowledge we need help to understand what happened in Abraham’s case, examine our practices in all areas of the business, and make changes where they are needed. To this end we will be engaging a DEI specialist consultancy and giving them full access to our processes and practices. Their report will be conducted independently, and they will then work alongside the Lions leadership team and our existing DEI Change Committee to embed their recommendations. The tender process will be completed within 30 days.
We will report on each stage of the process and we will share with our community the policies on DEI that are defined as part of the process. We hope and believe that with the help of clear, expert outside eyes we will make the step-change that is clearly necessary.
Cannes Lions takes its responsibility as a leader of the industry very seriously. We know we have a unique platform to drive positive change. We feel fortunate to have worked with many in the industry on initiatives that are contributing to this change.
But the events of this week showed us that we are only as strong as our weakest link. If our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion doesn’t extend to every part of what we do, then it doesn’t extend to any part of what we do.
We would like to thank all the members of our community who have been in touch offering their perspectives