WPP CEO Martin Sorrell Steps Down

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell stepped down Saturday from the massive agency holding company he founded in 1985 and where he had served as CEO since 1987.

WPP chairman Robert Quarta will be executive chairman until the new CEO is appointed.

Mark Read, CEO of Wunderman, and Andrew Scott, WPP’s corporate development director and Europe COO, will both serve as joint holding company chief operating officers.

Sorrell had been the subject of an investigation alleging misuse of assets and of improper behavior. The misconduct allegation investigation had concluded, WPP said in a release Saturday.

“Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years,” Sorrell said in a statement. “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.”

Sorrell pioneered WPP into the digital age, investing in ad technology data and media ownership. However, WPP is now facing significant challenges. In March, WPP reported its worst financial year since the 2009 economic crisis, with revenues down .6% to $21.2 billion, and it predicted flat 2018 Revenue growth as clients cut marketing budget and pressured agency margins.

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