THE chief executive of the world’s largest advertising agency WPP has stepped down following allegations of personal misconduct through the misuse of company assets.
Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured), who had denied wrong-doing, said the claims had been putting ‘too much pressure’ on the company and its employees.
WPP said it had finished its investigation, adding ‘the allegation did not involve amounts that are material’.
Sir Martin, 73, said in a statement: ‘As I look ahead, I see that the current disruption is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business, our over 200,000 people and their 500,000 or so dependants, and the clients we serve in 112 countries.
‘That is why I have 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.’
WPP said Sir Martin, who has been at the helm of the firm for 33 years, will be treated as having retired. Chairman Roberto Quarta will step in until a new chief executive has been appointed.
Sir Martin said he understood the company had to investigate the allegations, which surfaced earlier this month. He previously worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, and was knighted in the Queen’s New Year honours list in 2000.
In 2017 he was the highest paid FTSE 100 boss for the second year, although his total pay fell from £70.4million to £48.1million.
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