Sir Martin Sorrell quits as WPP boss after investigation launched into personal misconduct allegations

Business

Sir Martin Sorrell has quit as chief executive of the world’s largest advertising agency WPP, less than a fortnight after it was confirmed the company was investigating an allegation of personal misconduct against him.

The 73-year-old said he was obviously “sad” to be leaving the firm he founded 33 years ago. 

“It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long,” he said in a statement. ”However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now.”

The company stunned the advertising industry last week when it said it had appointed lawyers to investigate alleged misconduct by Sir Martin, who turned a two-man outfit into the world’s biggest advertising group with 200,000 employees.

He denied any misconduct “unreservedly”. 

But in a letter to WPP staff published late on Saturday he said the “current disruption” was “putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business”.

He said he had 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”.

The company said Chairman Roberto Quarta will become executive chairman until a new chief executive is found. 

Mark Read, a WPP executive, and Andrew Scott, chief operating officer for Europe, have been appointed as joint chief operating officers of WPP. 

Agencies contributed to this report

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