WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell steps down

16 April, 2018, 14:40 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Sorrell 'sad to leave WPP after 33 years'

WPP's long-serving chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell has resigned from his role as the head of the company amid an investigation into an alleged misuse of assets and improper conduct.

It follows an internal investigation into an allegation of personal misconduct against Sorrell, which WPP said has concluded.

Roddy Davidson, analyst at Shore Capital, said: "This is a disappointing end to Sir Martin's illustrious career at WPP which saw him build the world's largest marketing services group and deliver substantial value to shareholders over three decades".

From the company's office in Farm Street, Mayfair, he watched as Sorrell pulled off a string of takeovers before building his own profile by growing its digital operations.

In a communication to staff Sir Martin explained "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".

While a common refrain heard about WPP is that no one knows the company like Sorrell, Read is the one man who comes close after he wrote to the WPP boss asking for a job in 1989.

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'That is why I have decided that in your interest, in the interest of our clients, in the interest of our shareowners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside'. During this time, the Company has been successful because it has valued and nurtured outstanding talent at every level - within and well beyond our leadership teams.

WPP did not give any details of the allegation and Mr Sorrell denied the charges, initially saying that he understood the need to investigate.

Sorrell had been in charge of the advertising giant since 1986, after he made an investment in wire shipping basket company Wire & Plastic Products a year earlier. The rest of the group looks more likely to be kept together.

Sorrell, who is among the highest paid British executives, earned over $100 million in 2015 and 2016.

He previously worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, and was knighted in the Queen's New Year honours list in 2000.

Whoever takes over could find keeping such a sprawling empire together an nearly an impossible task: WPP employs more than 200,000 staff in 400 separate ad businesses in more than 3,000 offices in 112 countries.

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