WPP Founder Sir Martin Sorrell Quits As CEO

Sorrell 'sad to leave WPP after 33 years'

Sir Martin, who acquired the small Kent-based firm in 1985 and turned it into the world's largest marketing services group, will be treated as having retired, the company confirmed.

Chairman Roberto Quarta will become executive chairman until a new chief executive is found, while Mark Read, a WPP digital executive, and Andrew Scott, chief operating officer, Europe, have been appointed as joint chief operating officers.

The company said Sorrell would be available to assist with the transition, and the man synonymous with the British marketing group told the staff they would come through this hard time.

When the news of the investigation broke earlier this month, he said: "As a significant share owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over 30 years ago, remains absolute".

In March WPP reported its weakest annual results since the financial crisis, with Sir Martin describing 2017 as "not a pretty year" for the company even though pre-tax profits were just over £2bn. It has been a passion, focus, and source of energy for so long.

Some analysts believe WPP, which comprises some 400 separate businesses including Ogilvy & Mather, Kantar Group, Hogarth Worldwide and Young & Rubicam, could be broken up.

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Bell later hosted another show, Midnight In the Desert , but retired from the air in 2015, citing threats to his safety . Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly announced the death of the "longtime resident" in a brief video statement.

In a statement, Sir Martin, referring to the investigation into misconduct, said 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 our shareowners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside'.

WPP did not give any details of the allegation and Mr Sorrell denied the charges, initially saying that he understood the need to investigate. "During this time, the company has been successful because it has valued and nurtured outstanding talent at every level - within and well beyond our leadership teams", he said.

According to research from the High Pay Centre think-tank, Sorrell was Britain's best-paid boss in 2015, with a package of more than £70 million ($100 million, 80 million euros) that year.

He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

Sir Martin has established himself as one of relatively few British business leaders who are recognised around the world.

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