Leaked WPP memo says holding company won't be broken up

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 20 April 2018
Mark Read

WPP’s new interim leader Mark Read, the former CEO of Wunderman, has issued a memo to the company’s approximately 200,000 employees reassuring staff around the world that it won’t be broken up and sold for parts.

The ad industry has been rife with speculation about what the future of WPP will look like following the shock resignation of Martin Sorrell, which is now under the new leadership of Read and co-COO Andrew Scott.

Several analysts predicted the company would split up WPP assets, seeing more value in breaking up the empire, which spans across 400 separate ad businesses in more than 3000 offices in 112 countries, particularly given its stock market value has continued to plummet.

Read addressed these rumours saying: “We don’t believe this makes sense. In a world where clients need faster, more agile, integrated solutions, we need to get closer together, not further apart.”

The memo, obtained by AdWeek, went on to reassure staff about the stability of the company, adding there is a “huge amount of support and goodwill” for WPP and “no shortage of confidence about the future”.

He described WPP’s agencies, which include 80 in Australia, as “major organisations in their own right, with their own strong leaders”.

He also added that the company’s board of directors had given himself and Scott a “clear brief”, with Read focused on the people, clients and companies and Scott to manage the operational and financial performance and managing of the WPP portfolio.

The pair will also “move forward decisively on the group’s strategy”, Read said in the memo.

The memo outlined plans to work closer with both client and tech partners like Adobe, Microsoft, Google and Facebook in coming weeks.

“Some things we know already… we’ll make sure our structure and offer make it as simple as possible for clients to access our services across the group; and we’ll put data, technology and creativity at the heart of what we do,” Read said.

The simple structure Read refers to seems to align with the “horizontality” strategy introduced by Sorrell, indicating the business is likely to continue on with consolidating its portfolio and creating a one-stop shop for clients as it has for the last two years.

The global shakeup will have huge implications for the Australian market, with consolidation already taking hold of the WPP group for the last 12 months.

Prior to Sorrell’s departure, AdNews spoke to WPP AUNZ Mike Connaghan about the state of the business Down Under. Read more here.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus