At 73, the Briton leaves WPP, the group he founded, against a backdrop of suspicion of financial irregularities.
The world | 15.04.2018 at 10h22 • Updated 16.04.2018 at 11:03 | By Alexandre Piquard
The end of an era … The fall of 73-year-old Sir Martin Sorrell is striking, as the founder of WPP, a flamboyant globetrotter, was the biggest boss still operating in the advertising industry. His abrupt dismissal, Sunday, April 15, by the board of directors of his empire, built in go of nothing and become world number one, also symbolizes the pressure for change the model of its “baby” WPP: a global holding holding dozens of prestigious agencies, aggregated by an inspired buyout strategy.
But why “Board” did WPP push for the release of Mr. Sorrell, whose career remains hailed in the official press release? The reasons are part of the mystery because the group decided not to communicate on this subject. “The message for our employees and our customers is that the business continues as usual,” reads in an internal memo.
The boss was suspected of having made a “Misuse of corporate assets” and to have had “Inappropriate personal conduct”, had revealed the Wall Street Journal early April, announcing a ” investigation internal “. The first expression made think to possible misuse of WPP’s resources or unwarranted charges, the second to a potential sexual harassment, thriving #metoo movement.
A style particular
Since then, some observers have note that Sir Martin Sorrell was a friend of Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump and son-in-law of Donald Trump . In addition, the specialized media Ad Age revealed that WPP had participated in a call for tenders for the army in collaboration with Cambridge Analytica, the company suspected of having used for the campaign of Mr. Trump the profiles of nearly 50 million Americans retrieved back home on Facebook . Ad Age quotes a source that Mr. Sorrell knew Alexander Nix, the sulphurous founder of the British advertising targeting company, who wanted sale its pharmacy at WPP – a proximity however denied by a cadre of the group.
Martin Sorrell: “Calls to further regulate Facebook or Google are inevitable”
Whatever the end word of the history Sir Martin Sorrell’s sidelining turns the page of a particular style. Born in 1945 and descended from a family a wealthy Jew, who came to UK of Ukraine , from Poland and of Romania he studied at Cambridge and Harvard. He had entered the world advertising through the Saatchi & Saatchi agency, which he climbed up the ladder be considered as «The third fr era “. He then undertakes build his great work from Wire and Plastic Products (WPP), a small British company that manufactured plastic baskets. Mr. Sorrell embarks on a redemption frenzy that will take him to take the control of giants like Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, Kantar …
Always looking exit of his throwing, Mr. Sorrell had built himself a hangman’s character job , leather as thick as the notebook Address , foaming summits and lectures. Always tanned and immaculately put, but able to to put a foot on the coffee table of a hotel de luxury , he was remarried to Cristiana Falcone, advisor of the World Economic Forum in Davos, after to have concluded “The most expensive divorce in the history of the United Kingdom” .
Two potential dolphins
Mr. Sorrell was appreciated and feared for his direct tone. “This may exist in the meanders of the imagination of some, above the Arc de Triomphe, but where is the interest? ” he had taunted when his rivals Publicis and Omnicom had announced their merger – ultimately aborted. He had enemies: ” I would prefer lick the soil of a slaughterhouse to work with him “, So had sworn Chris Ingram from the Tempus agency.
Martin Sorrell’s star had begun to pale when his staggering salary – up to 89.5 million euros in 2015, a record in the UK – was controversial, before being reduced. More recently, the 2017 results – the worst since 2009 with a net turnover down 0.9% to 17.4 billion euros – have made plunge his class stock Exchange . The WPP model is shaken by advertisers, which sometimes go from being agencies, to large platforms like Google , Facebook or Amazon . Like Publicis, WPP also claimed to be condemned to to reinforce in the technology for make consulting firms such as Accenture or Cap Gemini.
Anger at Martin Sorrell’s massive salary of 90 million euros
Mr. Sorrell’s estate is finally open: Roberto Quarta, President of WPP, will be acting until the appointment of a new CEO. He will be supported by Mark Read, CEO of Wunderman Group and WPP Digital, and Andrew Scott, Head of Global Operations. Europe . Two potential dolphins. In his original announcement, Patriarch Sorrell wrote this spin, which sounds like a warning: ” I can say that WPP is not just a story of life and death, it has always been, and will always be, more important than that. “