Wednesday, 21 April, 2021


Ad king Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP following misconduct investigation

News Corp's BSkyB Takeover Sky has renewed a contract that will see WPP agency MediaCom continue handling its media planning and buying
Conrad Doyle | 15 April, 2018, 11:36

Martin Sorrell, architect & CEO of WPP, resigned today following the probe launched earlier this month into allegations of his "personal misconduct" and misuse of corporate assets.

Martin Sorrell, chairman and chief executive officer of WPP, the world's largest advertising company, speaks at the Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) annual conference in London November 21, 2016.

WPP's board, which had appointed independent legal counsel to investigate the allegation, was expected to receive the findings of the investigation at the end of next week. He has denied the allegations.

The 73-year-old said in a statement: "As I look ahead, I see that the current disruption is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business, our over 200,000 people and their 500,000 or so dependents, and the clients we serve in 112 countries".

Sorrell, who worked at Saatchi & Saatchi before founding WPP, said the company has been "a passion, focus and source of energy for so long".

Having forged the business from the embers of a shopping basket maker, Sorrell has always viewed WPP as his personal fiefdom. "However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now", Sorrell said.

As 2012, WPP has compensated Mr. Sorrell 210 million pounds, making him the best paid chief executive of any company listed in the FTSE. There is speculation that two long-serving WPP executives, Mark Read, global chief executive of Wunderman, and Andrew Scott, COO of WPP Europe, could share leadership duties on an interim basis.

WPP's directors have been in frequent contact by telephone since the allegations emerged and people close to the company played down Tuesday's face-to-face board meeting.

For the past 33 years, I have spent every single day thinking about the future of WPP.

In his time the group expanded to own top creative agencies including J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam, as well as media planners and buyers, market-research firms and public relations groups such as Finsbury.

He has made headlines in recent years regarding his sizeable pay at a time when traditional advertising groups struggle against fierce competition from the likes of Google and Facebook.

"As a founder, I can say that WPP is not just a matter of life and death, it was, is and will be more important than that". Good fortune and Godspeed to all of you...now Back to the Future.

However, Sorrell will assist with the transition as the company seeks a new leader.

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