Sir Martin Sorrell steps down as WPP CEO

Sorrell's full resignation message to WPP 'Godspeed to all of you'

WPP said that the announcement concludes the investigation, noting that "the allegation did not involve amounts that are material".

A first gen entrepreneur of Ukrainian descent, he rose out of nowhere to build the world's largest advertising group.

"As a founder, I can say that WPP is not just a matter of life and death, it was, is and will be more important than that". Roberto Quarta, Chairman of WPP, becomes Executive Chairman until the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer.

Sorrell had been in the midst of an unspecified investigation about "personal misconduct and misuse of company assets".

Having denied the unspecified allegation made against him by a whistleblower, Sir Martin's decision to resign will inevitably spark speculation about the nature of the claims made against him.

Sorrell will remain with the company for an unspecified time "to assist with the transition" pending the confirmation of his successor or successors.

Wunderman CEO Mark Read and Andrew Scott, who is WPP's corporate development director and chief operating officer for Europe, will share the chief operating officer role.




As the architect of the global empire which began in the humble form of the cash shell Wire and Plastic Products, Sir Martin has amassed rich rewards from his success. "Most of my wealth, if not all of it, is and has been for the last 31 years tied up in the success of WPP".

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.

The marketing services industries are being buffeted by accelerating trends such as zero-based budgeting, which has led to many consumer-facing companies abandoning increases in marketing spending. Some of its biggest clients include Unilever and Procter & Gamble.

We pioneered Atticus Awards for original written thinking. the WPP Fellowship Awards to recognise promising talent. the Partnership and Practice Awards for client endorsed integrated market and case studies.

However, the firm has struggled in the previous year, with shares falling back from heights above £19 in February to less than £12 at the close of markets last Friday.

Having run the agencies as separate companies for years to stimulate competition, WPP had started to break down the barriers to appease clients who found it unwieldy and unsuited to the digital age where clients could create their own content and place it directly on Google and Facebook.

WPP declined to comment on Saturday evening, while Sir Martin could not be reached for comment.

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