WPP CEO Martin Sorrell withdraws

Martin Sorrell,

executive director of giant advertising

WPP


WPP 0.49%

PLC, has resigned, with immediate effect, after the conclusion of a company investigation into an allegation of personal misconduct.

The company said

Mark Read,

executive director of the WPP Wunderman agency, and

Andrew Scott,

The director of corporate development and the director of operations of WPP, Europe, have been appointed as joint operations directors of WPP. Mr. Sorrell's departure is being treated as a retirement, the company said.

Roberto Quarta,

Chairman of the WPP board will badume the position of chief executive until a new CEO is appointed, the company said.

"Obviously, I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years, it has been a pbadion, focus and source of energy for so long," said Sorrell. "However, I think it's the best thing for the business if I resign now."

Mr. Sorrell, 73, had been in charge since he founded the company in 1986 and has helped build it. in the largest advertising company in the world. It has a large number of top-tier creative agencies such as J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam, as well as the powerful media buyer GroupM.

On April 3, WPP said an independent attorney had been appointed to investigate "an allegation of personal misconduct" after The Wall Street Journal reported the investigation. The Journal reported that the board was investigating whether Mr. Sorrell misappropriated the company's badets. WPP said that any possible misconduct did not involve sums that were material for the company. At that time, Mr. Sorrell issued his own statement denying any financial irregularities.

"As I look forward, I see that the current disruption we are experiencing is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business," Sorrell said in a letter to WPP staff on Saturday.

"That is why I have decided that it is in your interest, in the interests of our clients, in the interest of all shareholders, large and small, and in the interest of all other stakeholders. It is better for me to make myself a side, "he said.

To write to Nick Kostov in [email protected]

Corrections and amplifications
Mark Read and Andrew Scott have been appointed heads of joint operations of WPP. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that they had been appointed CEOs.

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