Economy

Martin Sorrell quits as CEO of ad firm WPP

Martin Sorrell quits as CEO of ad firm WPP

'The short term trading outlook appears challenging and we believe Sorrell's departure will create further volatility in the group's share price, ' he said.

The news nevertheless has sent shockwaves through the marketing industry, and comes 10 days after WPP launched an independent probe into allegations of his personal misconduct through the misuse of company assets. He took a United Kingdom manufacturer of wire baskets and built it into a worldwide provider of advertising, public relations and marketing services through a series of takeovers.

A first-generation Jewish immigrant in Britain whose parents came from Kiev, Ukraine, Mr. Sorrell got his big break in advertising when he joined Saatchi & Saatchi in 1975.

"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".

"As I look ahead, I see that the current disruption is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business", Sorrell said in a statement to WPP staff.

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

Energetic and competitive, Sorrell is widely regarded as the titan of his industry known for his combative style, especially when pointing out the failings of his competitors to journalists. "It's practically a stage show". He's famously well-compensated, earning £210 million (nearly $300 million) over the course of 5 years in a controversial pay package that some shareholders resisted.

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WPP on March 1 lowered its long-term profit outlook after reporting its worst annual performance since the global financial crisis, capping a string of disappointments that put Sorrell on the defensive.

Whoever takes over will have to decide whether the group of 200,000 people should remain in its current form.

Sky's Jeremy Darroch and Andrew Robertson, chief executive of ad agency BBDO, are among those in the frame but any succession could be at least six months away, exposing WPP to an extended period of volatility.

The initial task will fall to Chairman Roberto Quarta, who described Sorrell as the "driving force" behind WPP, and executives Mark Read and Andrew Scott who will be joint chief operating officers while the company seeks a new CEO.

During his tenure, WPP acquired top advertising agencies such as J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam, as well as companies specializing in media planning, market research and PR, such as Finsbury.

"If WPP does well, I do well", he told the Press Association in April 2016.

The company said Martin Sorrell would help in the transition and he assured the employees that they would overcome the hard moment. "Now back to the future".


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