With WPP operating in more than countries, Sir Martin has cultivated a global reputation as a commentator on economic and political matters, forging relationships with government ministers, financiers and corporate bosses around the world.
WPP has said it is business as usual while an independent law firm carries out its investigation into "an allegation of personal misconduct" against the chief executive. He has denied the allegations.
That has left WPP and its peers - the French group Publicis and Interpublic of the USA - being buffeted by headwinds which also include the disintermediation of digital platforms such as Facebook.
Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising giant WPP PLC, has stepped down, effective immediately, following the conclusion of a company probe into a personal misconduct allegation. Roberto Quarta, Chairman of WPP, becomes Executive Chairman until the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer.
"Sir Martin has been the driving force behind the expansion of WPP to create the global leader in marketing services", Quarta said.
In 1989, he proceeded to snap up competitors, also amazed that the advertisements world with a 825 million takeover of Ogilvy & Mather, then among the ad bureaus, for example Young & Rubicam, a advertising and marketing and communications organization. Some of its biggest clients include Unilever and Procter & Gamble.
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Sorrell, who will continue to be available to the board with his valued guidance signed off saying, "As a Founder, I can say that WPP is not just a matter of life or death, it was, is and will be more important than that. It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long", stated Sorrell in an emotional note to WPP staff. However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now.
The world's biggest ad group chose to launch the investigation into its chief executive after a whistleblower made allegations.
However, revenue growth has hit a wall in the previous year as brands do more of their advertising in-house and buy directly from online platforms.
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.
It largely outperformed its peers Omnicom OMC.N , Publicis PUBP.PA and IPG IPG.N in the years that followed the financial crisis as the group pitched aggressively for new work. He earned about 200 million pounds ($284 million) over the last five years, largely due to a lucrative performance-related bonus package. His compensation exceeded $100 million in some years.