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Ad giant WPP at a crossroad after CEO Martin Sorrell’s abrupt exit

The dramatic rise of Sir Martin Sorrell in the corporate world has been an inspiration for many aspiring industrialists across the world. What makes Sorrel, who has stepped down as the head of WPP Plc that owns the WPP Group (WPPGY), stand out is the path-breaking decisions he took throughout the illustrious career.

Interestingly, Sorrell, who developed WPP into the biggest advertisement firm in the world, was equally popular for his exceptionally aggressive approach to business and the controversies associated with it. And, his unceremonious exit this week also created a fuss.

It may sound illogical that the man who earned knighthood from the Queen and enjoyed the best-in-industry pay package during most of his 33-year-long career was facing investigation for misappropriation of the company’s assets and personal misconduct. The resignation came a few days before a board meeting scheduled to discuss the findings of a probe against Sorrell.

Obviously, it’s bad news for the market, considering WPP’s falling market value and the challenges the advertisement industry is facing globally, such as budgetary constraints and growing competition from the digital space. It is unlikely that the company would make a turnaround soon in the absence of Sorrell’s unique business acumen and vision.

Martin Sorrell stepped down as CEO of WPP following allegations of misconduct 

WPP’s Chairman Roberto Quarta has taken over as the executive chairman to lead WPP until a new chief executive officer is appointed. Also, the top executives at the company’s various divisions have been assigned additional responsibilities to streamline operations during the interim period.

Sorrell began his corporate life at advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi in the late 70s as a financial executive and shot to fame after he managed the hostile acquisition of New York-based J. Walter Thompson in 1987, a year after taking the reins at WPP. The following years witnessed the British business wizard pursuing a series of acquisitions that ultimately helped him build the WPP empire.

Sorrell in his farewell note said, “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 if I step down now.”

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