Sorrell is one of the UK's best-paid business leaders, earning more than £200m from pay and lucrative - and highly controversial - reward schemes in the past five years alone. "However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now", said Sorrell.
This would make them the front running internal candidates to take over from Sorrell, as the board also readies to reach out to its "constantly refined list of external candidates". It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long.
The probe served to intensify scrutiny on Sorrell and WPP's succession planning, long criticized by investors as being insufficient, prompting speculation that a CEO long seen as unstoppable might be forced to step aside.
Sorrell's final full-year pay as chief executive for 2017 will be made public when WPP publishes its annual report in about a month.
He used that firm as a vehicle to gobble up various other global ad icons such as Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and another 18 other advertising service providers over three years. (He is renowned for holding conversations while texting with clients and friends.) Today, WPP can be a worldwide advertisements behemoth with 130,000 workers in 112 countries, and a industry valuation of approximately 2-2 billion pounds, or about £ 31 billion. Competitors like Omnicom and Publicis have struggled similarly.
The migration of advertising online and the encroachment into market research of consultancies such as Accenture have compounded the pressures. Sorrell will be available to assist with the transition.
He added: As a significant share-owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over 30 years ago, remains absolute - to our people, our clients, our shareholders and all of our many stakeholders. Good fortune and Godspeed to all of you...now Back to the Future.