Sir Martin Sorrell Steps Down As Chief Executive Of WPP
Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of the world’s largest advertising agency network, WPP, has resigned from his post following an investigation being held by the company.
Both WPP and Sorrell released statements on Saturday evening (14 April) to announce the decision, alongside the move to make Mark Read, chief executive officer of Wunderman and WPP Digital, and Andrew Scott, WPP’s corporate development director and chief operating officer, Europe, as joint chief operating officers of WPP.
Meanwhile, Roberto Quarta, chairman of WPP, will become executive chairman until the appointment of Sorrell’s full-time successor is made.
Details of the investigation into the allegation of misconduct were still not clear at the time of writing, with WPP only stating that “the allegation did not involve amounts that are material”.
Quarta said: “Sir Martin 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 – within and well beyond our leadership teams. On behalf of the board I would like to recognise these achievements and thank Sir Martin for his commitment to the business over more than three decades.”
In a statement from WPP, Sorrell said: “Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years. It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long. However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now. I leave the company in very good hands, as the board knows.
“Mark and Andrew and the management team at all levels have the knowledge and abilities to take WPP to even greater heights and capitalise on the geographic and functional opportunities. I will particularly miss the daily interactions with everyone across the world and want to thank them and their families for all they have done, and will do, for WPP.”
WPP has said that Sir Martin will assist with the transition of the new leadership and will be treated as having retired, in accordance with his ‘at-will employment agreement’. Meanwhile his share awards will be shared pro-rata over the next five years in accordance with group performance targets being met..