Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP ahead of misconduct investigation findings

16 April, 2018, 02:24 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Sorrell's full resignation message to WPP 'Godspeed to all of you'

Sir Martin Sorrell, the founder and CEO of the world's largest advertising company WPP, has resigned after 33 years since he was named its chief executive in 1986. The allegations do not involve amounts which are material to WPP as the holding company.

"As I look ahead, I see that the current disruption we are experiencing 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". As per the official press release issued on the company site, "the previously announced investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Sorrell has concluded".

Chairman Roberto Quarta becomes executive chairman until the appointment of a new CEO, while Mark Read, who heads WPP agency Wunderman, and Andrew Scott, WPP's corporate development director, become joint chief operating officers.

"It wasn't a boardroom battle but the way they behaved in his eyes, the manner they handled the investigation, in the end he thought I'm 73-years old I don't need this s**t", one person close to the process said. So if WPP does well, I do well, and others in the company do well.

Sir Martin said last week that he rejected the allegation "unreservedly but recognise that the company has to investigate it". It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long.

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Sir Martin said a succession plan had been in place "for some time" and a "new generation of management" were well placed to "deal with the geographic and technological opportunities and challenges" faced by the industry.

According to research from the High Pay Centre think tank Sorrell was Britain's best-paid boss in 2015, with a package of more than £70 million that year.

It largely outperformed its peers Omnicom, Publicis and IPG in the years that followed the financial crisis as the group pitched aggressively for new work. Its shares are down around 30 percent this year.

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

"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". "Now back to the future".

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