Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Sir Martin Sorrell quits WPP in the 'interests of company'

Sir Martin Sorrell quits WPP in the 'interests of company'

Earlier this month, WPP confirmed it had hired a law firm to investigate "an allegation of personal misconduct against Sir Martin Sorrell".

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".

Sorrell has been the face of the company since he founded it in 1985.

The 73-year-old will be treated as having retired from the company, meaning he will be entitled to a maximum 1.65 million shares under long-term award plans dependent on WPP's performance.

While WPP hunts for a new CEO, it has handed the helm to two executives, digital boss Mark Read and Andrew Scott, the chief operating officer of WPP Europe who oversaw acquisitions, making them joint chief operating officers.

"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". "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", he said.

Sir Martin was said to have resigned after learning that the investigation had finished, though sources...

The son of an electronics retailer who was educated at the University of Cambridge, Mr Sorrell made his name as the finance director of the start-up British ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

The question now for his successor, WPP's investors and its tens of thousands of clients is whether the £15bn group can survive the departure of its founder and the dramatic changes the internet is bringing to the traditional world of advertising.

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

Mr Wieser wrote in a note: "We would not be surprised if some assets were pruned to make the company more manageable, or perhaps invest to more clearly establish a focus in certain areas that are likely to support improved long-term growth trends". The holding group employs over 200,000 people in more than 400 companies across 112 countries.

However, he always fiercely defended his income, saying it was related to how well the company he started from nothing was doing.

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