Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP following claims of personal misconduct

Sorrell's full resignation message to WPP 'Godspeed to all of you'

Sorrell's full resignation message to WPP 'Godspeed to all of you'

WPP said the probe had concluded, adding that "the allegation did not involve amounts that are material".

He added: "As a significant share-owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over 30 years ago, remains absolute - to our people, our clients, our shareholders and all of our many stakeholders".

Sorrell also mentioned that a new generation of management, led by Mark Read and Andrew Sorrell WPP corporate development director and COO, Europe, have been appointed as joint chief operating officers of WPP. "However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now", Sorrell said.

The company said that he will be allowed to hold on to share awards of £33 million that will pay out over the next five years if the company performs well. Sorrell has denied the allegations, details of which have yet to publicly surface.

Simon Jack, the BBC's business editor, said his legacy as an advertising industry titan was secure. Sorrell was set to join the rest of the board early next week for scheduled meetings ahead of the company's quarterly results, making a quick resolution of the probe nearly inevitable.

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

Sir Martin said his position at WPP had been a passion for so long but it was in "the best interests of the business" for him to resign.

But beyond the investigation that leaked this month, there were other signs Sorrell was losing his magic touch.

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.


"During this time, the company has been successful because it has valued and nurtured outstanding talent at every level".

Sir Martin was born in London and educated at the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School before going on to read Economics at Christ's College, Cambridge.

He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

Even a first-generation Jewish immigrant at Britain whose parents first came from Kiev, Ukraine, " Mr. Sorrell got his big gap in advertising when he joined Saatchi & Saatchi in 1975.

He has made headlines in recent years regarding his sizeable pay at a time when traditional advertising groups struggle against fierce competition from the likes of Google and Facebook.

Many executives recount stories of the CEO taking contract losses personally, including one who told Reuters how Sorrell had shared an hour's vehicle journey in complete silence after his rival mentioned an account he had recently won from WPP.

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.

However, he always fiercely defended his income, saying it was related to how well the company he started from nothing was doing.

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