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Martin Sorrell Steps Down as CEO Of World's Largest Ad Company

National Public Radio (April 15, Domonoske) confirms that "Martin Sorrell, the powerful CEO who turned WPP into the world's largest advertising and PR firm, has resigned after allegations of misconduct." The misconduct reportedly involved misuse of company funds, as well as "personal misconduct." WPP recently completed its investigation into the allegations, but has yet to release any public details about what the allegations were, or whether they were substantiated. Sorrell has denied all wrongdoing. Sorrell "will be treated as having retired," an official WPP statement read. The 73-year-old is due to receive around £20 million (US$28 million) as part of his exit.

According to the Wall Street Journal (April 16, Kostov, Vranica), a person close to Sorrell said he exited due to exasperation with the handling of the probe, not because he was concerned about its details becoming public. Sorrell had been at the reins since he founded WPP in 1986, helping to transform a little-known U.K. wire-shopping-basket maker dubbed Wire & Plastic Products into the world's biggest advertising holding company. WPP boasts a number of blue-chip creative agencies, including J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam. WPP Chairman Roberto Quarta will take on the role of executive chairman until a new chief executive is named. "Mark Read, chief executive of WPP agency Wunderman, and Andrew Scott, WPP’s corporate development director and chief operating officer for Europe, have been appointed as joint-chief operating officers," adds the Journal.

Reuters (April 15) states that