Ad titan Sorrell brings curtain down on 32-year WPP career

Ad titan Sorrell brings curtain down on 32-year WPP career

Ad titan Sorrell brings curtain down on 32-year WPP career

The Board of WPP has appointed independent counsel to conduct an investigation in response to an allegation of personal misconduct against Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer of WPP.

Whoever takes over could find keeping such a sprawling empire together an nearly an impossible task: WPP employs more than 200,000 staff in 400 separate ad businesses in more than 3,000 offices in 112 countries. It made no further comment but repeated a previous statement that the allegation did not involve amounts that were material to the company.

Sources familiar with the situation said that the outcome of the investigation, which is being carried out by USA law firm WilmerHale for WPP chairman Roberto Quarta, will be available by the end of the week.

Roberto Quarta, who has been WPP's chairman for the last three years, will stand in as executive chairman.

"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.

"As a founder, I can say that WPP is not just a matter of life or death, it was, is and will be more important than that", Sorrell said.

Sir Martin Sorrell is stepping down as CEO of the marketing services group WPP, Sky News can reveal. It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long.

Sir Martin Sorrell has been at the helm of the company for 33 years since taking control in 1986.

He added: "As a significant share-owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over 30 years ago, remains absolute - to our people, our clients, our shareholders and all of our many stakeholders".

The company has also named Mark Read, who runs WPP's digital operation Wunderman, and its European chief operating officer Andrew Scott as joint chief operating officers.

Sir Martin said last week that he rejected the allegation "unreservedly but recognise that the company has to investigate it".

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

"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".

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