Thu, Apr 05, 2018 - Page 10 News List

WPP probes CEO Sorrell over ‘financial misconduct’

AFP, LONDON

WPP PLC chief executive officer Martin Sorrell speaks during an interview with CNBC at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City on Dec.13 last year.

Photo: Reuters

British advertising giant WPP PLC yesterday revealed that it had launched an independent investigation into allegations of misconduct by its chief executive Martin Sorrell, reportedly of a financial and personal nature.

The statement came after the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that WPP was looking at whether Sorrell “misused company assets” alongside “allegations of improper personal behavior.”

Sorrell, 73, denied any wrongdoing, but said the company that he founded more than three decades ago had no choice, but to investigate an allegation of “financial impropriety” made against him.

“The board of WPP has appointed independent counsel to conduct an investigation in response to an allegation of personal misconduct against Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive officer of WPP,” the advertiser said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

“The investigation is ongoing. The allegations do not involve amounts which are material to WPP,” it added.

Sorrell in a separate statement said that “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 recognize that the company has to investigate it,” he said. “I understand that this process will be completed shortly.”

“As a significant share owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over 30 years ago, remains absolute,” Sorrell added.

News of the probe sent WPP’s share price sliding 2.3 percent in early deals on London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index.

Long-serving Sorrell has made headlines in recent years regarding his sizeable pay, at a time when traditional advertising groups struggle against fierce competition from the likes of Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc.

Sorrell received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

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