Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP following claims of personal misconduct

Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP following claims of personal misconduct

To fill the leadership vacuum while a successor is found Roberto Quarta, the WPP chairman, will take an executive chairman role.

Sorrell will remain with the company for an unspecified time "to assist with the transition" pending the confirmation of his successor or successors. "However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now", Sorrell said.

Sorrell has said he rejects the allegation "unreservedly".

The development comes after Sorrell denied allegations that he misused company funds - a charge that prompted the company's board to investigate allegations of "personal misconduct" and misuse of company assets. The allegations do not involve amounts which are material to WPP as the holding company.

Sky News television's City editor Mark Kleinman said his resignation was one of the most significant ‎exits of a FTSE 100 company chief executive for many years.

The reasons for his departure have not been made public, although the investigation, which was only revealed at the start of the month, has now finished.

Sorrell's 1985 investment in Wire & Plastic Products and string of acquisitions of advertising companies effectively founded WPP, making him an executive seen by some as irreplaceable for his direct access to clients and active hand on a sprawling network of agencies.

WPP plc American Depositary Shares (NYSE:WPP) has received an average rating of "Hold" from the fifteen research firms that are presently covering the stock, MarketBeat reports.

The 73-year-old also established himself as one of relatively few British business leaders who are recognised around the world.

"I will particularly miss the daily interactions with everyone across the world and want to thank them and their families for all they have done, and will do, for WPP", Sorrell added.

"His departure will leave the company he built virtually from ‎scratch facing profound questions about its future direction", he said.

There's big news in the world of advertising.

That has left WPP and its peers - the French group Publicis and Interpublic of the United States - being buffeted by headwinds which also include the disintermediation of digital platforms such as Facebook.

However, the firm has struggled in the previous year, with shares falling back from heights above £19 in February to less than £12 at the close of markets last Friday.

The external pressures on the company have led WPP's board to conclude that it should explore a sale of Kantar, its market research arm, which could command a price tag of about £3bn.

But beyond the investigation that leaked this month, there were other signs Sorrell was losing his magic touch.