NEW YORK: The globe's largest agency holding company, Omnicom Group, on Wednesday toed the line already agreed by its smaller rivals based in New York City.

Four Omnicom networks - BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide, Merkley & Partners and PHD - have now signed-up to strict new rules imposed by the New York City Human Rights Commission.

The code is intended to encourage ethnic diversity in senior agency management - a characteristic notable by its current rarity on Madison Avenue. WPP Group and Interpublic Group have already committed to the scheme, which sets minority hiring targets over a three-year period.

Hitherto, Omnicom had chosen to go it alone on the diversity front, reaching a separate hiring agreement with NYC Council member Larry B Seabrook.

This included an agreement to fund an institute at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, from which Omnicom has undertaken to recruit graduates. Seabrook is eager to persuade the other two holding companies to enter into a similar deal.

Promises Omnicom chairman/ceo John D Wren: "Our agreements with both the City Council and city commission assure a long-term commitment [to diversity]."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff