Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP ahead of misconduct investigation findings

Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP ahead of misconduct investigation findings

"The allegation did not involve amounts that are material", WPP said in a statement last night.

After all, Sorrell is 73-years-old, has been the subject of an internal probe for alleged misconduct and WPP has struggled financially in recent quarters.

Roberto Quarta, Chairman of WPP, will be the interim CEO until the appointment of a new chief executive.

Sorrell's unique relationship with WPP allowed him to run it autocratically with an iron hand - leading to a "Sorrellcentricity" that critics say had made it his personal fiefdom.

Sorrell was the highest-paid CEO among FTSE 100 companies in both 2015 and 2016, according to a study released a year ago by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the High Pay Centre.

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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. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Sir Martin Sorrell said: "Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years".

"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".

Born in London, Sorrell studied economics at the University of Cambridge and then gained a masters from Harvard University.

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.

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The question now for his successor, WPP's investors and its tens of thousands of clients is whether the £15bn group can survive the departure of its founder and the dramatic changes the internet is bringing to the traditional world of advertising.

The firm has grown into one of the world's largest communications groups and now has some 3,000 offices.

Sir Martin said a succession plan had been in place "for some time" and a "new generation of management" were well placed to "deal with the geographic and technological opportunities and challenges" faced by the industry.

He previously worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, and was knighted in the Queen's New Year honours list in 2000.

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