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WPP CEO Martin Sorrell faces 'personal misconduct' investigation
05 April 2018, 01:17 | Vera Richards
Sorrell under investigation by WPP over “personal misconduct” allegations
WPP the global advertising and marketing partner to some of the world's biggest consumer electronics and appliance brands, is investigating their CEO Martin Sorrell who has been accused of "personal misconduct" at the same time USA authorities are running a separate investigation.
The investigation into the undisclosed personal misconduct allegation is ongoing, said WPP's Buchanan Communications in a statement. The company said the amounts involved aren't material.
Today, as ad spending shifts to the internet, Sorrell's iron grip looks increasingly shaky - a threat that was laid bare with reports of alleged personal misconduct and misuse of company assets.
Sorrell built London-based WPP from an investment in a shopping-basket manufacturer into the owner of blue-chip agencies.
Sorrell said the allegation was being investigated by a law firm, and he understood the process would be completed shortly. With the advertising space becoming increasingly dominated by the likes of Google and Facebook, many companies are choosing to avoid agency fees by moving their marketing in-house.
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"The message for our people and clients is one of business as usual within our operating companies and client teams", the company said in the memo, according to two WPP employees who received it, who asked not to be identified as the document isn't public.
As the Journal noted, the WPP board has taken issue with Sorrell in the past, particularly over the executive's pay, which dropped from £41.6 million in shares in 2016 to £10 million, or $14 million, last year. Sorrell has never given any indication that he may be ready to step back.
Sir Martin has been Britain's highest-paid CEO for years, earning around £70m in 2015 before shareholders cut his pay to £48m the following year. "Obviously, I shall play no part in the management of the investigation under way".
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