The former US president of Rapp has unleashed a scathing attack on global chief executive Alexei Orlov in a lawsuit against the agency, which accuses him of discrimination, retaliation and wrongful dismissal.
In the lawsuit, first revealed in Adweek, Greg Andersen claims that he was sacked in April for speaking up about Orlov’s “destructive” behaviour, including how Orlov (pictured) made references to multiple unnamed women as “fat cows” and told a Jewish employee he was happy because he was “miserly with money”.
It is also alleged that Orlov told a meeting of 70 employees and others in Dallas that “[If you] mess with my brand or my direction…I will break off your finger and shove it up your ass”, and pressured an employee working on the Pfizer account to get him Viagra directly from the client because “he has a young wife”.
Andersen and his law firm Rushovich Mehtani LLP claim that he reported Orlov’s behaviour to Rapp’s head of global HR Carolyn Doud, the managing director of its New York office and Omnicom’s in-house legal counsel on multiple occasions.
But Orlov allegedly texted Andersen in March to tell him that members of “my team” had spoken of “conversations you are having around / about me” and then sacked him in April right after he had returned from a week’s holiday.
In a statement, the Omnicom agency said: “Rapp is aware that Greg Andersen has filed a complaint and denies that any unlawful conduct occurred. Mr Anderson’s position with Rapp was eliminated and we are not able to comment further. Rapp has, and enforces, policies prohibiting discrimination and retaliation on the basis of gender, race, age, disability, sexual orientation or any other legally protected status.”
Rumours of Orlov’s controversial management style have been rife ever since he joined the agency in June 2014, and according to sources, one of the Rapp’s most senior creative officers filed an official harassment complaint against him last year.
It has also understood that Omnicom conducted an official internal investigation of nearly 20 individual complaints made against Orlov but took no further action.
At the time of his appointment to Rapp, Omnicom DAS Group chairman Dale Adams said: “I am confident that his well-known passion for bringing together dynamic teams to support and make a difference for clients of all sizes, as well as his proven capabilities as a client- and agency-side leader, business strategist and branding expert, will add enormous value to Rapp and, most importantly, its worldwide portfolio of clients.”
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