Martin Sorrell resigns as head of WPP

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And late last night - amidst investigations into charges of personal misconduct by the WPP board - Sir Martin Sorrell packed up his things and shockingly announced that he was saying ta-ta to the CEO's position and moving out of the corner office.

WPP stunned the market last week when it said it had appointed lawyers to investigate alleged misconduct by Sorrell.

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

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. "It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long", stated Sorrell in an emotional note to WPP staff.

"However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now", he said. "For the past 33 years, I have spent every single day thinking about the future of WPP", wrote Sorrell.

In accordance with his at-will employment agreement, Sir Martin will be treated as having retired on leaving WPP, as detailed in the Directors' Compensation Policy, the press statement read.

"The succession arrangements look like a sticking plaster and, until strong and credible long-term leadership arrangements emerge, there will be concerns about the sustainability of the WPP Group, as we know it today, and its strategic direction", said Guy Jubb, former global head of governance and stewardship at Standard Life Investments, an investor in WPP.

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He formed it from a shell company, Wire and Plastic Products, re-establishing what had been a wire baskets manufacturer as a marketing services group in 1986.

Sorrell, who founded the British ad giant and has been at the helm for the past 33 years, stepped down less than a fortnight after the group launched an independent investigation into the allegations. I leave the Company in very good hands, as the Board knows.

The departure of the CEO who built a two-man outfit into one of Britain's biggest companies with 200,000 staff in 112 countries leaves WPP without a boss at a pivotal time for the industry and when the group is under great strain.

Sorrell was one of Britain's most highly paid business leaders, having been paid well over £200 million since 2013 for running the firm.

He added: "We have weathered hard storms in the past". WPP says that Sorrell "will be available to assist with the transition".

"Nobody, either direct competitors or newly-minted ones can beat the WPP team, as long as you work closely together, whether by client and/or country or digitally".

Said he: "I shall miss all of you greatly".

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