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WPP shares plunge as Sir Martin Sorrell quits

18 April, 2018, 03:33 | Author: Sara Gill
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WPP said the probe had concluded, adding that "the allegation did not involve amounts that are material".

"I shall miss all of you greatly", he wrote in an email to staff. Analysts at Liberum, for their part, recommend buying WPP's stock, arguing that the company's underperformance to the rest of the industry is unjustified, and talk of potential asset sales after Sorrell's departure will boost WPP's value. However, when the matter made it into the Wall Street Journal he told friends he thought it was being used as a weapon to force him out, one source said.

Could Sorrell start a new company?

"Sir Martin was at the helm of WPP for over 30 years, the longest-serving CEO of any FTSE 100 company". Sorrell, a former investment banker who cut his teeth in advertising as the Saatchi brothers first finance chief, was a master deal maker at the fore of the global land grab.

For more than three decades Sir Martin Sorrell dedicated his life to transforming a small Kent-based manufacturer of shopping baskets, Wire and Plastic Products, into the world's biggest marketing services group.

The role meant Sorrell became an authority not just on advertising but on the global economy and an ever present voice on the media and at events such as Davos. Respected and sometimes feared by all sides. According to The Guardian, a report to the WPP Board was expected later this week. "He is such a competitor and he can get so angry when he loses". He is one of the most prominent and well-paid managers in the country.

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.


The exit by Sorrell, said the analyst brings up the possibility of an empire that he built being broken up.

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

"Once WPP breaks up, the pressure on the other guys will be irresistible", he said. And because of the competition between the different holding companies (WPP, Publicis, Omnicom, IPG etc), WPP is probably not going to want to sell to any of them.

Read, who previously sat on WPP's main board, is well regarded in the industry while Scott was involved in its acquisition strategy and was not involved with clients.

WPP further noted that Sorrell would be treated as having retired, meaning that his share awards will be pro-rated in line with the plan rules and will vest over the next five years, to the extent group performance targets are achieved.

The world's biggest ad company's share price was 3.5% down at 8am this morning but has ticked back up to -1.26% down from previous closing to 1,173p a share, despite speculation over the future of the company now Sorrell is leaving after 33 years.

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