Sir Martin Sorrell today resigned as CEO of WPP, the world’s largest advertising agency holding company, after an internal company investigation into his personal conduct.
The 73-year-old Sorrell founded WPP 33 years ago, and grew it to more than 200,000 employees in more than 100 countries. Sorrell said in a statement: “Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years. It 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.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported on April 3 that WPP was looking into allegations that Sorrell had misused company assets in addition to a personal misconduct complaint.
In a statement, the company said Sorrell’s departure is being treated as a retirement, and Roberto Quarta, WPP’s chairman, will become executive chairman while a search for a permanent successor is underway. 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-chief operating officers of the company.