Martin Sorrell resigns as head of WPP

Martin Sorrell makes shock departure from WPP

Sorrell quit the company after allegations of personal misconduct surfaced.

The news is likely to impact the share price of WPP as well as have wider implications for the advertising industry, including WPP AUNZ.

His resignation will be one of the most significant ‎exits of a FTSE-100 chief executive for many years.

A spokesperson for WPP provided a statement, attributed to Sorrell which said, "Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years".

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

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

Sorrell, who will continue to be available to the board with his valued guidance signed off saying, "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". I reject the allegation unreservedly but recognize that the company has to investigate it.

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The reasons for his departure have not been made public, although the investigation, which was only revealed at the start of the month, has now finished. "There is no other Sir Martin Sorrell in the world".

In a statement also released last night, Sorrell said: "The current disruption we are experiencing is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business". "Most of my wealth, if not all of it, is and has been for the last 31 years tied up in the success of WPP".

Sorrell will be treated as having retired, based on the directors' compensation policy, the company said.

With WPP operating in more than countries, Sir Martin has cultivated a global reputation as a commentator on economic and political matters, forging relationships with government ministers, financiers and corporate bosses around the world.

WPP's biggest clients globally include the likes of Ford, Procter & Gamble and Unilever, which it services through traditional advertising agency networks such as Ogilvy, J Walter Thompson and Grey.

WPP has seen its ‎shares fall by almost a third during the last 12 months, although it still has a market capitalisation of more than £15bn.

Shares in WPP are expected to fall tomorrow when the markets open.

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