Founder of advertising giant WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell, has resigned from the company over the weekend following allegations of personal misconduct.
The 72-year-old founded the company in 1985 following the acquisition of a small Kent-based firm and developed it into the world’s largest marketing services group.
The allegations centre around Sorrell’s apparent misuse of company assets.
However, Sorrell will be treated as if he has retired from WPP, meaning that he will receive 1.65 million shares under the company’s long-term performance plan. These are estimated to be worth around £20 million. Sorrell already owns more than £200 million worth of shares in the company.
Sorrell steps down after building WPP into a £15.4 billion revenue business with over 200,000 employees.
The announcement of his departure was made on Saturday, following weeks of investigations into his affairs within the company.
Chairman Roberto Quarta will take his place as Executive Chairman until a new CEO can be found.
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.
In a statement released by WPP, they stated that Sorrell would remain available to help assist with the transition.
Following the announcement Sorrell said: “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.
“I leave the Company in very good hands, as the Board knows. Mark and Andrew and the management team at all levels have the knowledge and abilities to take WPP to even greater heights and capitalise on the geographic and functional opportunities.
“I will particularly miss the daily interactions with everyone across the world and want to thank them and their families for all they have done, and will do, for WPP.”
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