June 22, 2018

Sorrell Denies Allegations Behind WPP Investigation Into Misuse Of Funds

05 April 2018, 01:19 | Lorenzo Hawkins

Eamonn M. McCormack Getty Images

Martin Sorrell

WPP's long-time chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell is now being investigated by the company for alleged misuse of assets and improper personal conduct.

Sorrell, in response to WPP's announcement, said he rejected the allegation "unreservedly" but recognized that the company had to investigate. The ad giant noted that the allegations did not involve amounts which are material to the company. However, the Wall Street Journal citing sources said that the holding company was looking into possible misuse of company assets by Sorrell.

Sir Sorrell has been at the helm of WPP since its formation in media services back in 1989, overseeing its rise to become the largest advertising firm in the world.

The firm, WPP Plc, is investigating allegations of personal misconduct by the 73-year-old Sorrell.

The world's largest advertising agency is investigating an allegation of personal misconduct against its chief executive.

The company has struggled lately on the growth front, turning in its worst year in a decade in 2017 with financial guidance that does not foresee much improvement until at least 2019. "I understand that this process will be completed shortly".

"What we would like as a house is to see a clear step of succession planning", said Ketan Patel, a fund manager at Edentree Investment Management Ltd., a WPP shareholder. "As a significant share owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over 30 years ago, remains absolute".

WPP maintains that it will conduct business as usual despite the distraction caused by the Sorrell probe.

Earlier this week WPP settled a lawsuit brought by an employee that alleged racist and sexist behaviour by a top executive at one of the advertising giant's premier agencies, ending a legal dispute that had been ongoing for some time. Sorrell has never given any indication that he may be ready to step back.

"It's never good when your CEO or any part of the leadership team is being investigated", Edentree's Patel said.

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