Friday, 21 September, 2018

Embattled Sorrell exits CEO post at WPP

Sorrell 'sad to leave WPP after 33 years' Sorrell'sad to leave WPP after 33 years
Nellie Chapman | 15 April, 2018, 19:18

WPP Plc chief executive officer (CEO) Martin Sorrell is resigning after 33 years, following allegations of personal misconduct and misuse of company assets, marking an abrupt end to a storied career at the top of the advertising industry.

Roberto Quarta, chairman of WPP, moves into the executive chairman slot until a replacement for Sorrell is announced.

The company has given no detail about the allegations against Sorrell except to say they "do not involve amounts which are material to WPP".

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.

Sir Martin's resignation will come 10 days after WPP said it had appointed independent counsel to investigate an allegation of personal misconduct against him.

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.

He had been under investigation by WPP but had rejected any claim of financial impropriety.

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.