Martin Sorrell steps down as head of WPP advertising agency

Boss of worlds largest selling group steps aside amid is looking into personal misconduct

Sir Martin Sorrell has come on his sword quitting from WPP, the world’s largest ad group he has rolled since founding it over three decades ago, ahead of the findings of an investigation into alleged personal misconduct.

The 73 -year-old, who acquired a small Kent-based maker of wire baskets in 1985 and improved it into the world’s largest commerce business group, told organization that for him WPP and its future work is” more important than a matter of life or death “.

Quick guide

Timeline: Martin Sorrell’s career


It may not seem like it but Sir Martin Sorrell had a busines before WPP. His affair with advertising embarked as Saatchi& Saatchi’s first finance director


Sorrell constituted his first step toward world-wide repression at persons under the age of 40, investing in a small Kent-based make of cable baskets announced Wire& Plastic Products


Sorrell announces himself on the international stage by buying J Walter Thompson, the world’s oldest ad bureau and an iconic US brand for $566 m. In 1988 he listed on NASDAQ exchange in New York


WPP’s closest call with extinction derived following an bold debt-fuelled move to buy Ogilvy& Mather for $864 m


Sorrell paid too much for O& M and as the recession-hit WPP approximately went out of business, a profit admonishing in 1990 sent its shares tumbling from 650 p in 1989 to 115 p. The fellowship made a life-saving fiscal restructure but the close call impaired Sorrell’s reputation as a distribute maker


Sorrell buys Ed Meyer’s Grey Global for PS845m


Sorrell propels a libel act against two onetime colleagues for supposedly labelling him and a female manager” the mad midget and the nympho schizo” while moving a “vicious” email image of them. Sorrell accepts a settlement of PS1 20,000 detriments


He moves WPP’s tax domicile to Ireland in protest at their chances of” doubled taxation” of overseas advantages – once abroad and once again in the UK. It moves back to the UK five years later after the governmental forces enacted laws plowing the taxation of foreign profits


The rising dissension at unbridled boardroom bribe cooked over into a series of investor insurrections, with Sorrell one of its most high-profile scalp. This was the year of the biggest of a series WPP investor insurrections with 60% rejecting his annual spend box


Sorrell’s PS7 0.4 m pay out is one of the biggest pay slews in UK corporate record. By the end of 2016 he has made more than PS2 00 m over a five year period


WPP permits its worst annual rendition since the advertising recession of 2009, moving its share price collapsing by more than a third


Sorrell’s iron grip ranging WPP arrives under threat after the board hires a rule firm to investigate allegation of personal malpractice. He stepped down on 14 April

Photograph: Eric Gaillard/ X00102

” As I look ahead, I see that the current interruption we are experiencing is simply putting too much redundant pressure on the business ,” pronounced Sorrell.

” That is why I have decided that in your interest, in the interest of our consumers, in the interest of all share owneds, both large and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, “its better” in order to be allowed to step aside.

” As a benefactor, I can say that WPP is not just such matters of life or death, it was, is and will be more important than that. Good rich and Godspeed to all of you … now Back to the Future .”

Sorrell, one of Britain’s best-known business leaders, and the longest-serving FTSE 100 united states president, has been under increasing influence since the charge of personal malpractice was made public by WPP’s board earlier this month.

WPP’s board, which had appointed independent legal counsel to analyse the accusation, was expected to receive the findings of the investigation at the end of next week.

Roberto Quarta, the WPP chairman, has made the responsibilities of manager chairman until a replacing for Sorrell can be found.

WPP has moved to appoint longstanding WPP administrations from ad group Wunderman- Mark Read and Andrew Scott- as seam chief operating officers to race day-to-day operations.

WPP said that Sorrell will be” available to assist with transition periods “.

” For the past 33 times, I have depleted every single day thinking about the future of WPP ,” alleged Sorrell.

” We have had a succession plan in place for some time. We have weathered difficult rains in the past. And our highly talented people have always won through, ever. As some of you know, their own families has expanded recently, WPP will always be my babe too .”

Quarta has said there is an” exceptional team of potential candidates” from WPP’s top conduct, as well as a” always refined list of external applicants “. However, investors and commentators believe that, given the scale of WPP, Sorrell’s successor must be an external candidate.

WPP fills over 200,000 staff members of more than 400 disconnected advertising organizations working in over 3,000 agencies in 112 countries.

Whoever takes on WPP knows where to find impeding the sprawling conglomerate- autocratically run with an iron hand with what has been dubbed “Sorrellcentricity”- intact perhaps an hopeless task.

Observers believe that Sorrell’s departure will have rapid and fatal ramifications for WPP and the wider world-wide push eco-system.

” Martin comes, WPP falls ,” said one top push administration at a competitive world-wide holding company.” There will be chaos. The manufacture is not prepared, purchasers are not prepared. In the short term “theres been” chaos. The advertising industry is flow like show business, it’s all about short-termism and that’s their own problems .”

Sorrell has come under increasing push in the past year as WPP, which has a market capitalisation of PS15bn, has fought resulting in its share premium coming more than a third- erasing PS9bn off the value of the business.

WPP recently reported its worst performance since the advertising recession in 2009, which Sorrell described as” not a pretty time “.

Sorrell is one of the UK’s best-paid business leaders deserving more than PS200m from salary and rewarding- and highly controversial- compensation schemes in the last five years alone. His PS70m payout in 2015 was one of the biggest in UK corporate autobiography.

In 2012, overseas investors dissent in the so-called ” stockholder springtime” appreciated 60% of disgruntled share owneds vote against Sorrell’s pay deal, a humble decision and at the time one of greater uprisings in UK plc record.

Sorrell and his family trust owns a stake of about 1.8% in WPP, value about PS250m.

Martin Sorrell’s full statement

To everyone at WPP,

For the past 33 years, I have wasted every day thinking about the future of WPP.

Over those decades, our family has grown and prospered.

We accepted J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy, Young& Rubicam, Grey, 24/7 Real Media, Taylor Nelson Sofres, among so many others.

We generated GroupM, including Xaxis and Essence.

We introduced the focus on Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Central Eastern Europe, the residence of the next billion purchasers. We embarked on the early developed at digital capabilities; and the evolution of a firm-wide united purchaser and country-centered approach.

Our holding company was recognized as the world’s best and most effective through the Cannes Lions and Effie Awards year after year after year.

We pioneered Atticus Awards for original written envisioning …. the WPP Fellowship Awards to recognize promising geniu …. the Partnership and Practice Awards for patron endorsed integrated busines and speciman examines.

Our Stream digital meetings have attracted the best in the digital business for more than a decade.

Our Annual Sustainability and Pro Bono Reports highlight the unique social, environmental and public policy wreak that we do epoch in, daytime out across the globe.

As I look ahead, I see that the current interruption we are experiencing is simply putting too much unnecessary adversity on the business, our over 200,000 beings and their 500,000 or so relatives, and the customer we serve in 112 countries.

That is why I have decided that in your interest, in the interest of our patrons, in the interest of all shareowners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best in order to be allowed to step aside.

We have had a succession plan in place for some time. A new generation of managing the, led by Mark Read and Andrew Scott( who have each been at WPP for approximately 20 times ), are well qualified and experienced in the Board’s opinion, to deal with the geographic and technological opportunities and challenges our manufacture faces.

We have weathered difficult gusts in the past. And our highly talented people have always earned through, always.

Nobody, either direct contestants or newly-minted ones can beat the WPP team, as long as you work closely together, whether by purchaser and/ or country or digitally.

In the next period, I will be available to the Board and any of you, should you miss help with anything, anywhere. I shall miss all of you immensely. You have given me such commotion and vigor and I wanted to thank you for everything you have done and will do for WPP and me.

As some of you are familiar, their own families has expanded recently, WPP has all along been my babe too.

As a Founder, I can say that WPP is not just such matters of life or death, it was, is and will be more important than that. Good luck and Godspeed to all of you…now Back to the Future.

Thank you

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *