Global CEO of advertising giant WPP, Martin Sorrell, has rejected allegations of "improper personal misconduct" and a misuse of company assets, outlined in a report this week by the Wall Street Journal.
WPP confirmed yesterday to AdNews that the board of the holding company had appointed an independent counsel to investigate the allegations against Sorrell.
Sorrell has since issued a statement “in his personal capacity” to AdAge, refuting any suggestion of misconduct.
Reports in the media have stated that WPP is investigating an allegation of financial impropriety by me, specifically as to the use of company funds.
This allegation is being investigated by a law firm.
I reject the allegation unreservedly but recognise that the company has to investigate it. I understand that this process will be completed shortly.
Obviously, I shall play no part in the management of the investigation under way.
News of the investigation has sent WPP's already flailing stock to its lowest in almost five years.
A WPP without Sorrell, who has been at the helm for 30 years, seems unimaginable. This remains the case even though the shares have lost a third of their value in the past year.
The allegations have raised questions of a succession plan at the holding company.
In other WPP news today, J. Walter Thompson reached a settlement with its global chief communications officer Erin Johnson, who sued the agency’s former CEO, Gustavo Martinez, for sexual harassment in 2016.
Martinez continues to work for WPP in Spain.
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