WPP CEO Martin Sorrell Steps Down

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell Steps Down

In a statement, Sir Martin said: "Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years".

Sorrell's final full-year pay as chief executive for 2017 will be made public when WPP publishes its annual report in about a month. Sir Martin would of course assist with the transition.

The chairman of WPP, Roberto Quarta, will oversee the agency until a new CEO is appointed.

It follows an internal investigation into anallegation of personal misconduct against Sorrell, which WPP said has now concluded.

The development comes after Sorrell denied allegations that he misused company funds - a charge that prompted the company's board to investigate allegations of "personal misconduct" and misuse of company assets. "I think most analysts and investors when adding up the sum of the parts of WPP would answer that it is to break it up", said Alex DeGroote, an analyst with Cenkos Securities.

Sir Martin said his position at WPP had been a passion for so long but it was in "the best interests of the business" for him to resign.

As the architect of the global empire which began in the humble form of the cash shell Wire and Plastic Products, Sir Martin has amassed rich rewards from his success.

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The 73-year-old also established himself as one of relatively few British business leaders who are recognised around the world. WPP's shares have lost a third of their value of the past year - far more than rivals facing the same market challenges - as its financial guidance has repeatedly proved too optimistic.

With WPP operating in more than countries, Sir Martin has cultivated a global reputation as a commentator on economic and political matters, forging relationships with government ministers, financiers and corporate bosses around the world.

A first gen entrepreneur of Ukrainian descent, he rose out of nowhere to build the world's largest advertising group.

Some multinational advertisers, including P&G, which owns ‎Ariel and Gillette, have signalled their intention to take more of their marketing services activity in-house, reducing the lucrative work for which they are charged by external agencies.

In a parting memo to WPP's 200,000 employees obtained by AdAge, Sorrell explained that the firm's "current disruption" has come from "putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business". The Company has four segments: Advertising and Media Investment Management; Consumer Insight (formerly Information, Insight & Consultancy); Public Relations & Public Affairs, and Branding & Identity, Healthcare and Specialist Communications, which includes WPP Digital and direct, digital, promotional and relationship marketing.

WPP has seen its ‎shares fall by almost a third during the last 12 months, although it still has a market capitalisation of more than £15bn.

WPP declined to comment on the pace of the investigation or succession planning.

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