Economy

WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell quits advertising agency

WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell quits advertising agency

Mark Read, chief executive of Wunderman and WPP Digital, and Andrew Scott, WPP corporate development director and chief operating officer for Europe, have been appointed as joint chief operating officers of WPP.

"It wasn't a boardroom battle but the way they behaved in his eyes, the manner they handled the investigation, in the end he thought I'm 73-years old I don't need this s**t", one person close to the process said.

Roberto Quarta, who has been WPP's chairman for the last three years, will stand in as executive chairman.

Sky News has learnt that WPP, which owns a string of global advertising and media buying networks supplying numerous world's biggest companies, is preparing to announce Sir Martin's departure as soon as Saturday night. Sorrell will be available to assist with the transition.

The firm, which has offices in Mayfair, New York, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Shanghai, said an investigation into an allegation of misconduct has concluded.

WPP PR Companies operating in Australia include Ogilvy PR, Burson Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, PPR, Pulse and several conflict agencies. "Obviously, I shall play no part in the management of the investigation under way", he added.

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The company said Sir Martin will be treated as having retired, with chairman Roberto Quarta becoming executive chairman until a new chief executive has been appointed.

Sir Martin denied any wrongdoing after the allegations surfaced earlier this month, but said he understood the company had to investigate. "There is no other Sir Martin Sorrell in the world". "I leave the company in very good hands, as the board knows", Sorrell said.

He owns shares in WPP worth more than £200m‎, while his annual remuneration packages - he earned £70m two years ago - have made him a target for critics of lavish boardroom pay.

The marketing services industries are being buffeted by accelerating trends such as zero-based budgeting, which has led to many consumer-facing companies abandoning increases in marketing spending. JP Morgan maintained the shares of WPP in report on Tuesday, November 21 with "Overweight" rating.

WPP declined to comment on Saturday evening, while Sir Martin could not be reached for comment.