Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

WPP Investigates Martin Sorrell For 'Personal Misconduct'

WPP Investigates Martin Sorrell For 'Personal Misconduct'

WPP has said that Sir Martin will assist with the transition of the new leadership and will be treated as having retired, in accordance with his "at-will employment agreement".

"However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now", he said. I reject the allegation unreservedly but recognize that the company has to investigate it. His share awards will be pro-rated in line with the plan rules and will vest over the next five years, to the extent that performance targets are met. Sorrell is one of the largest shareholders of WPP, with a 1.46% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Company has four segments: Advertising and Media Investment Management; Consumer Insight (formerly Information, Insight & Consultancy); Public Relations & Public Affairs, and Branding & Identity, Healthcare and Specialist Communications, which includes WPP Digital and direct, digital, promotional and relationship marketing.

The Company said that the previously announced investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Sir Martin has concluded.

The company added that the allegations did not involve amounts which are material to WPP, implying that the potential misuse of company funds form‎ed part of the probe.

"That is why I have decided that in your interest, in the interest of our clients, in the interest of all shareowners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside", he said in the statement. It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long.

WPP's corporate development director and chief operating officer for Europe Andrew Scott and, Wunderman CEO Mark Read would don the mantle of co-chief operating officers. I leave the Company in very good hands, as the Board knows. Sorrell, who will help with the handover to a new chief executive, denies wrongdoing.

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For the past 33 years, I have spent every single day thinking about the future of WPP.

Analysts believe Sorrell's departure combined with a share price slump of nearly a third over the past year means investors and the WPP board will have to consider that there is potentially more value in breaking up WPP.

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