CEO Of Worlds largest Ad Agency WPP, Quits Under A Cloud

  • CEO Of Worlds largest Ad Agency WPP, Quits Under A Cloud

CEO Of Worlds largest Ad Agency WPP, Quits Under A Cloud

The Board of WPP has appointed independent counsel to conduct an investigation in response to an allegation of personal misconduct against Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer of WPP. He denied the allegations but in a letter to WPP staff published late on Saturday he said the "current disruption" was "putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business".

"Mark and Andrew and the management team at all levels have the knowledge and abilities to take WPP to even greater heights and capitalize on the geographic and functional opportunities", said Sorrell.

Despite the misconduct investigation, some commentators said it was the fact that the company had lost a third of its value over the past 12 months - in the face of competition from the likes of Google and Facebook - that cost Sorrell his post.

WPP released a statement stating that the change would become effective immediately and that the advertising behemoth's chairman Roberto Quarta would become executive chairman until the company could appoint a new chief executive.

"Sorrell has been the driving force behind the expansion of WPP to create the global leader in marketing services". However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now.

A person familiar with the matter says the various mentions of alleged "personal misconduct" and "financial impropriety" in statements by WPP and Sorrell referred to the same thing.

Sky News television's City editor Mark Kleinman said his resignation was one of the most significant ‎exits of a FTSE 100 company chief executive for many years.

Sorrell added: "Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years".

However, his departure will leave the company he built virtually from ‎scratch facing profound questions about its future direction.

He joined the Saatchi and Saatchi advertising agency in 1975 before founding WPP.

Sorrell's 1985 investment in Wire & Plastic Products and string of acquisitions of advertising companies effectively founded WPP, making him an executive seen by some as irreplaceable for his direct access to clients and active hand on a sprawling network of agencies.

"He has an astounding grasp of detail if you consider the scale of the enterprise", said another executive who knew Sorrell professionally for many decades.

He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

The firm has grown into one of the world's largest communications groups and now employs more than 200,000 people in some 3,000 offices, across 112 countries.

There can be little doubt WPP has made Sir Martin a wealthy man - the Sunday Times Rich List in 2017 suggested a figure of £495 million - but he would frequently come in to bat against those who deemed his pay deals excessive.

Sky News has learnt that WPP, which owns a string of worldwide advertising and media buying networks supplying numerous world's biggest companies, is preparing to announce Sir Martin's departure as soon as Saturday night.