Each year, D&AD, the London-based promotional award organization that awards the coveted Black Pencil, elects a new president. Today D&AD named Naresh Ramchandani, Pentagram partner and co-founder of the 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 the youngest president of D&AD today. Terrett, who served as the organization’s vice president last year, went on to say that he was offered the role as usual but that he ultimately decided against clearing the way for a candidate who is not a white male.
“I’ve been the vice president for a year and become the vice president every two years,” Terrett wrote. “But I look around the world and see too many people who look like me, middle-aged white men, in positions like this. So I decided to step aside and make room for others. “
Terrett said he hoped this “little act will encourage” other people who look like him to do the same. “It can’t achieve anything, but at least it gives everyone an example to point out,” he wrote.
Terrett remains a trustee with D&AD. In his post he emphasized that his decision was “not a criticism of D&AD”. He told Adweek that “there is no sub-text and no problem with D&AD” and that the organization “has been and remains amazing”.
Tim Lindsay, chairman of D&AD, said in a statement that the organization respects Terrett’s “decision and the statement he makes”.
Diversity advocate Cindy Gallop and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn praised Terrett’s decision on Twitter. “WELL DONE BLOODY, Ben,” she tweeted. “This is a great and truly inspiring sacrifice.”