Innocean Places Chief Creative Officer Eric Springer on Leave in Wake of Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Hyundai agency announces internal investigation

Springer joined the agency as CCO in 2016. Adweek
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Hyundai’s Innocean has placed chief creative officer Eric Springer on leave less than a week after Adweek broke the news of a lawsuit accusing him and the agency of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.

The agency has reportedly brought in a third-party consultant to conduct an investigation.

“As announced to employees on Friday, Eric Springer, Innocean USA’s chief creative officer, has been put on a leave of absence while an ongoing investigation is conducted into the allegations made in a lawsuit by a former freelance employee,” an agency spokesperson said a statement. “We want to reiterate to all of our employees, clients, vendors and other partners, that Innocean USA is committed to providing a safe and positive work environment, free from any form of harassment, bullying or discrimination, and one that encourages collaboration and creativity among all employees.”

Springer did not immediately respond to an email Monday seeking comment.

The statement also confirmed a late-Friday all-staff meeting at which agency leaders discussed the case, as AgencySpy reported.

“In a meeting with staff Friday, Steve Jun, Innocean USA’s CEO, president, re-emphasized that all complaints of this nature are taken extremely seriously and treated with respect and in confidence,” the representative said. “Today, we are announcing to our staff that we have brought in an external human resources consultant and are also going through The 3% Movement certification program to develop additional solutions as warranted.”

The representative did not identify the aforementioned consultant. The statement represents the agency’s first public comments on the case.

The suit first filed in January by Innocean’s former director of content Victoria Guenier named Springer as a defendant along with the agency and 100 unnamed “John Does,” who allegedly allowed the CCO to create “a hostile work environment.”

The agency’s law firm responded in February and denied all claims in the suit, arguing that Guenier did not “make reasonable efforts to mitigate or minimize [actions] taken for legitimate, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reasons.”

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.