Podcast: Martin Sorrell

Martin Sorrell has harsh words for his successor at WPP Group. During a wide-ranging interview on this week’s AdExchanger Talks podcast, Sorrell sharply questions decisions made by WPP’s current leadership in the year since he abdicated to start his own holding company, S4 Capital.

He suggests WPP brass have executed poorly on a well-intentioned strategy to merge some agencies and thereby simplify the sprawling company. The comment reveals Sorrell’s own obsession with agency branding and employee morale.

“Did it make sense to put VML and Y&R together? Yes, but you’ve crushed Y&R by putting the VML brand first and I wouldn’t have done that. That wasn’t the plan when I left,” he says. “Same thing applies to JWT and Wunderman. You have to give the people – in these types of situations you have to give them some dignity, and you’ve just taken it away from them.”

He also dings WPP on the sale of Globant at $52 a share. The company is now trading above $88. “That was a bad mistake.”

But he acknowledges, “I can’t be rational about it. I’m emotional about it, I’m subjective.”

Sorrell gamely (and combatively) holds forth on more than a dozen other topics here – including the macro-economy, the “huge and getting huger” impact of PE, the run of data acquisitions by agency groups and what’s next for S4 Capital.

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