Sorrell steps down from WPP
Sir Martin Sorrell, founder of advertising behemoth WPP, has resigned as chief executive of the group after an internal investigation was launched into allegations of personal misconduct.
Sorrell, who headed up WPP for 33 years, was under investigation over claims that he misused company assets.
In a statement, the 73-year-old said: "As I look ahead, I see that the current disruption we are experiencing is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business.
"That is why I have decided that in your interest, in the interest of our clients, in the interest of all share owners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside.
"As a founder, I can say that WPP is not just a matter of life or death, it was, is and will be more important than that. Good fortune and Godspeed to all of you … now Back to the Future."
In its own statement, WPP announced that the investigation into Sorrell had been closed, saying: "The previously announced investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Sir Martin has concluded. The allegation did not involve amounts that are material."
In March, WPP posted its worst annual financial results since the global financial crisis around a decade ago.
Last year, net sales dropped by 0.9 per cent. WPP has said it expects no sales growth in 2018.
In 2016, Sorrell warned sports leaders of what he called a “tsunami of daily non-stop scandals” that was engulfing sport, telling them: “You need to get your house in order, and start leading by example. Corporates worldwide have lived in this fish bowl for decades; now sport has to adapt or die. There is nothing to stop you being replaced.”WPP owns or has stakes in a wide range of sports agencies and companies, including ESP, Imagina (owner of Mediapro, the Spanish sports rights and production agency), CSM Sport & Entertainment, Bruin Sports Capital and Deltatre (owned by Bruin) and TSE Consulting.
Speaking exclusively to Sportcal in an interview last year, Sorrell said that WPP’s roster of sports companies was “not enough… Whichever sport we’re talking about, the sponsor opportunities, advertising opportunities, merchandising opportunities, activation, data, media opportunities are phenomenal.
"Their audiences are very much those that our clients wish to engage with. In a world where health and wellness are becoming increasingly important, if you’re looking for a purpose, sports offer a healthier mind and body [WPP is also known for its large healthcare division].”The interview is available here.