Embattled Sorrell exits CEO post at WPP

16 April, 2018, 02:27 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Sorrell's full resignation message to WPP 'Godspeed to all of you'

The world's largest advertising agency is under pressure to publish the findings of an investigation into the conduct of Sir Martin Sorrell after he abruptly ended a 33-year career at the helm of the company.

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. It said the allegation "did not involve amounts that are material".

"That is why I have decided that in your interest, in the interest of our clients, in the interest of all share owners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside".

The Company said that the previously announced investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Sir Martin has concluded.

He took a United Kingdom manufacturer of wire baskets and built it into a worldwide provider of advertising, public relations and marketing services through a series of takeovers.

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Sir Martin said his position at WPP had been a passion for so long but it was in "the best interests of the business" for him to resign.

Sorrell was the highest-paid CEO among FTSE 100 companies in both 2015 and 2016, according to a study released previous year by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the High Pay Centre.

He said in a statement on WPP's website: "Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years".

The company has also named Mark Read, who runs WPP's digital operation Wunderman, and its European chief operating officer Andrew Scott as joint chief operating officers.

Roberto Quarta, chairman of WPP, becomes executive chairman until the appointment of a new chief executive.

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Sir Martin said last week that he rejected the allegation "unreservedly but recognise that the company has to investigate it".

He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

A source close to Sorrell said he had been unhappy with how the investigation was handled, leaving him uncertain whether he could work with the board again.

"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".

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