Print Published 14th Apr 2018, 23:58

Sorrell shock: “In the interest of all it is best for me to step down”

Sir Martin Sorrell has stepped down as chief executive of the world’s biggest marketing group that he founded – WPP – in circumstances that he could never have dreamt of.

Faced with an allegation of misconduct, WPP commissioned an investigation by independent lawyers and their findings have been delivered to the company.   WPP has previously stated that the allegation “did not involve amounts that are material”.

Ten days ago Sir Martin issued a strong denial of any financial impropriety: “I reject the allegation unreservedly but recognise that the company has to investigate it”, he said.

What the company has so far declined to disclose is whether the investigation’s findings were such that they would have made it difficult for Sir Martin to continue in office or whether Sir Martin and the board concluded that, whatever the findings, the allegation alone had become a major distraction.

However, the impression given by the terms of Sir Martin’s departure suggest that he was not what lawyers call “a bad leaver” – namely an employee who has been found guilty of misconduct or in some other way has been found to have acted against the best interests of the company.

Sir Martin: sad to leave after 33 years