Sorrell quits as WPP chief executive

Sorrell's full resignation message to WPP 'Godspeed to all of you'

Sorrell's full resignation message to WPP 'Godspeed to all of you'

Adland is digesting the implications of the unexpected weekend resignation of Sir Martin Sorrell from his position as chief executive officer of WPP, with speculation that the world's largest ad business could be broken up and that Sorrell could start a new advertising business.

The investigation into Sorrell has now concluded, WPP said, reiterating that the amounts weren't material.

Roberto Quarta said: "Sir Martin has been the driving force behind the expansion of WPP to create the global leader in marketing services".

Sorrell has been the face of the company since he founded it in 1985.

'That is why I have decided that in your interest, in the interest of our clients, in the interest of our shareowners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside'.

WPP said Sorrell would be treated as having retired, with chairman Roberto Quarta becoming executive chairman until a new chief executive is appointed.

Sir Martin was said to have resigned after learning that the investigation had finished, though sources...

Liberum analysts added that onlookers should not read too much into the fact Sorrell hadn't signed a non-compete clause, as "WPP is his creation and he would not want to do anything that would be seen as damaging the company".

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Whoever replaces Sorrell however will face longer-term questions as to whether a group that was built in his mold should remain intact after his departure.

"During this time, the company has been successful because it has valued and nurtured outstanding talent at every level".

He joined the Saatchi and Saatchi advertising agency in 1975 before founding WPP.

Sorrell had been in charge of the advertising giant since 1986, after he made an investment in wire shipping basket company Wire & Plastic Products a year earlier.

He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

Mr Wieser wrote in a note: "We would not be surprised if some assets were pruned to make the company more manageable, or perhaps invest to more clearly establish a focus in certain areas that are likely to support improved long-term growth trends".

Whoever takes over could find keeping such a sprawling empire together an nearly an impossible task: WPP employs more than 200,000 staff in 400 separate ad businesses in more than 3,000 offices in 112 countries.

He is one of the most high profile, and best paid, executives in the country.

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