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Advertising executive tells job seeker the agency already has enough brown skin people

WHAT is it with advertising agencies this week?

Its been one faux pas after another in the industry that seems to have moved on little from the world of the TV series iMad Men./i

First the chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi, one of the worlds biggest agencies, was stood down over sexist comments about women lacking the ambition to make it to the top.

Now Sydney agency Banjo Advertising has gone into damage control over a disastrous job interview that left a Sri Lankan-born account director shocked and offended.

In an astonishing lapse of judgment, a senior executive told Surungi Emily Hohol the agency would not be suitable for the role as they already had two other Indian staffers.

Direct quote: The client might be alarmed by having three brown skin people attend a meeting, Ms Hohol wrote on Facebook.

Seriously what is wrong with people Im livid and seriously irritated by this.

Banjo chief executive Andrew Varasdi called an emergency office meeting this morning, and met personally with the candidate to discuss the matter.

The agency maintains that the executives light hearted comment was misinterpreted by Ms Hohol, who was in fact being strongly considered for the position.

The exec, who has not been named, was not disciplined for the remarks but had been counselled and was deeply upset by the incident.

In the course of expanding the account management team at Banjo, an unfortunate misunderstanding has occurred during an interview with a candidate, for which Banjo would like to offer an unreserved apology, Mr Varasdi said in a statement.

The senior staff member, who conducted what was a very positive interview, made a casual remark at the end of the interview, which was intended to set the person at ease. Unfortunately it was taken out of context and has since gained some notoriety on social media.

There has been a lot of media attention on the issue of equality including race, gender and sexual orientation, and age in recent times and we acknowledge that emotions can run high.

The statement said that Banjo had a record of hiring from a diverse pool of talent and employed staff of all ages, genders and ethnicities, and that women held half of its senior management positions.

We couldnt possibly deliver on our promise that our clients come first, if our own staff did not reflect the Australian community, Mr Vasasdi said.

We are extremely proud of the make up of our talented staff, which is reflective of the diversity of Australia. We hope that we will be judged on our record, and that all candidates who consider joining us at Banjo will do so too.

Australian share market opens higher

THE Australian share market has opened higher on the back rising energy shares and with investors seeming slightly more positive about a Trump presidency.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was 0.36 per cent higher at 1020 AEDT, with gains led by energy stocks.

CommSec market analyst Steve Daghlian said it was the first improvement in the opening local market since the start of the week.

He said that while share moves had been modest, they had been relatively volatile since Donald Trumplsat week was elected to be the 45th US president.

Overall, it seems that Donald Trumps win has been largely positive from a market standpoint, at least for the time being, he told AAP.

Today, the energy sectors doing best and thats because the price of oil jumped.

Wall Street closed higher overnight with technology stocks back in demand after post-election losses and energy shares supported by a six per cent jump in oil prices on the back of expectations OPEC will cut output in late November.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 0.29 per cent at 18,923.06, while the S&P 500 rose 0.75 per cent to 2,180.39.

Local energy shares followed the US lead with Woodside adding 58 cents, or two per cent, to $29.62, Santos rising eight cents to $4.08, Beach Energy lifting 4.25 cents, or 5.52 per cent, to 81.25 cents and Oil Search up 19.5 cents at $6.76.

The four big banks also edged up slightly. Commonwealth Bank was up 48 cents, or 0.63 per cent, at $76.91, and Westpac had gained 22 cents, or 0.71 per cent, to $31.18, National Australia Bank had lifted 19 cents, or 0.68 per cent, to $28.32, while ANZ edged up eight cents, or 0.29 per cent, to $27.84.

Even though the overall technology sector was down, some shares echoed Wall Streets gains with Audio Pixel up 74 cents, or 4.47 per cent, to $17.30, Sonic Healthcare up 66 cents to $22.33 and Cochlear shares jumping $1.33 to $121.15.

However, resources were hit by an eight per cent fall in the iron ore price. BHP Billiton fell 34 cents, or 1.38 per cent, to $24.21 and Rio Tinto shares shed 95 cents, or 1.61 per cent, to $58.

Woolworths also slipped, losing 10 cents to $23.26 after chief executive of discount subsidiary BIG W Sally Macdonald resigned after less than a year in the job.


* At 1020 AEDT on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 19 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 5,345.2.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 17.6 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 5,417.4 points.

* The December share price index futures contract rose 26 points to 5,350, with 8,616 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 393.1 million securities traded, worth $527 million.