Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell quits advertising agency

Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP following claims of personal misconduct Sir Martin Sorrell says ta-ta to WPP, Roberta Quarta becomes exec chairman
Preston Stone | 15 April, 2018, 19:43

And last month amidst slowing down of revenues and income and the growing clout of the FANGS - the board commenced an investigation charging Sorrell with personal misconduct and misuse of the company's assets.

"Sir Martin Sorrell has stepped down as chief executive officer of WPP with immediate effect", the holding company said in a statement.

Those close to WPP have been keen to play down suggestions of any rift between Sorrell and the rest of the board, noting they stood by him during a series of shareholder revolts over his pay in previous years.

In a statement, he said it was "in the best interests of the business if I step down now".

To fill the leadership vacuum while a successor is found Roberto Quarta, the WPP chairman, will take an executive chairman role.

73-year-old Sorrell was largely responsible for growing WPP into the advertising empire, having founded the business in 1985.

Analysts believe Sorrell's departure combined with a share price slump of nearly a third over the past year means investors and the WPP board will have to consider that there is potentially more value in breaking up WPP.

"His departure will leave the company he built virtually from ‎scratch facing profound questions about its future direction", he said.

Sir Martin is also likely to be allowed to retain on a pro rata basis significant amounts of unvested WPP stock which would be released, based on the company's performance, over the coming years, sources said.

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"Sorrell has been the driving force behind the expansion of WPP to create the global leader in marketing services".

"During this time, the company has been successful because it has valued and nurtured outstanding talent at every level".

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

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

Sorrell became one of the highest paid executives in the world during his three decades at WPP, building the firm into an advertising and marketing powerhouse.

The resignation preempts what could have been an inglorious departure for someone who was the public face of the advertising industry writ large.

However, he always fiercely defended his income, saying it was related to how well the company he started from nothing was doing. "There is no other Sir Martin Sorrell in the world".

As of past year, Sorrell was said to have a net worth of 495 million pounds, or over $700 million.

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