Martin Sorrell's departure from WPP marks the end of an era

Martin Sorrell's departure from WPP marks the end of an era

Sir Martin Sorrell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of advertising company WPP, attends a conference at the Cannes Lions Festival in Cannes, France, June 23, 2017.

The company has over 200,000 employees. The allegations do not involve amounts which are material to WPP as the holding company. However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now.

Sorrell's unique relationship with WPP allowed him to run it autocratically with an iron hand - leading to a "Sorrellcentricity" that critics say had made it his personal fiefdom.

Roberto Quarta, chairman of WPP, becomes executive chairman until the appointment of a new chief executive.

In an email to WPP staff on Saturday night seen by Sky News, Sir Martin said it was "in the interest of our clients...and all our other stakeholders...for me to step aside".

WPP said last week that it had appointed lawyers to investigate alleged misconduct by Sorrell.

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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.

Sorrell was the highest-paid CEO among FTSE 100 companies in both 2015 and 2016, according to a study released a year ago by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the High Pay Centre.

Mark Read, Chief Executive Officer of Wunderman and WPP Digital, and Andrew Scott, WPP Corporate Development Director and Chief Operating Officer, Europe, have been appointed as joint Chief Operating Officers of WPP. "Obviously, I shall play no part in the management of the investigation under way", he added.

He previously worked at Saatchi and Saatchi, and was knighted in the Queen's New Year honours list in 2000.

Sir Martin was said to have resigned after learning that the investigation had finished, though sources... "During this time, the company has been successful because it has valued and nurtured outstanding talent at every level - within and well beyond our leadership teams", he said.

Roberto Quarta described Sir Martin as being the "driving force" behind WPP's growth and thanked him for his commitment to the business.

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