Embattled Sorrell exits CEO post at WPP


And last month amidst slowing down of revenues and income and the growing clout of the FANGS - the board commenced an investigation charging Sorrell with personal misconduct and misuse of the company's assets. He has denied the allegations.

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Martin Sorrell, who built WPP WPP.L into the world's biggest advertising agency through 33 years of dealmaking, quit on Saturday after an allegation of personal misconduct.

The company said Mark Read, chief executive of WPP agency Wunderman, and Andrew Scott, WPP corporate development director and chief operating officer, Europe, have been appointed as joint-CEOs of WPP.

The company said Sorrell would be available to assist with the transition, and the man synonymous with the British marketing group told the staff they would come through this hard time. "The allegations do not involve amounts which are material to WPP". Sir Martin would of course assist with the transition.

The $20.8 billion British company owns big brands in the marketing and communications world, including Olgivy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and 400 others.

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Sorrell's 1985 investment in Wire & Plastic Products and string of acquisitions of advertising companies effectively founded WPP, making him an executive seen by some as irreplaceable for his direct access to clients and active hand on a sprawling network of agencies. He remained at the helm for decades.

"WPP is investigating an allegation of financial impropriety by me, specifically as to the use of company funds", Mr Sorrell said in a statement.

Sorrell, who worked at Saatchi & Saatchi before founding WPP, said the company 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", said founder and CEO Sorrell in a statement.

In accordance with his at-will employment agreement, Sir Martin will be treated as having retired on leaving WPP, as detailed in the Directors' Compensation Policy, the press statement read.

He has made headlines in recent years regarding his sizeable pay at a time when traditional advertising groups struggle against fierce competition from the likes of Google and Facebook. He earned about £200 million ($284 million) over the last five years, largely due to a lucrative performance-related bonus package.