And last month amidst slowing down of revenues and income and the growing clout of the FANGS - the board commenced an investigation charging Sorrell with personal misconduct and misuse of the company's assets.
Chairman Roberto Quarta will become executive chairman of the company until a new CEO is appointed, according to a.
In a statement from Sorrell's personal PR firm Project Associates, he said: "Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years". It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long. "However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business ...in your interest, in the interest of our clients, in the interest of all shareowners, both big and small, and in the interest of all our other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside....the current disruption is putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business".
Since then, shareholders have balked at backing similarly large pay packages, and turned up criticism over WPP's governance and the leader-centric corporate culture Mr. Sorrell appeared to have created. It made no further comment but repeated a previous statement that the allegation did not involve amounts that were material to the company.
He added: "We have weathered hard storms in the past".
Our holding company was recognized as the world's best and most effective through the Cannes Lions and Effie Awards year after year after year. "And our highly talented people have always won through, always".
Sorrell transformed a tiny wire basket manufacturer he acquired in the eighties into an worldwide giant worth over £20bn, with industry figures saying he will a hard act to follow at a time when the industry is facing major headwinds. A new generation of management, led by Mark Read and Andrew Scott (who have each been at WPP for approximately 20 years), are well qualified and experienced in the Board's opinion, to deal with the geographic and technological opportunities and challenges our industry faces.
Shares in WPP are expected to fall tomorrow when the markets open.
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. "I think most analysts and investors when adding up the sum of the parts of WPP would answer that it is to break it up", said Alex DeGroote, an analyst with Cenkos Securities. "Good fortune and Godspeed to all of you...now Back to the Future".
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