Martin Sorrell: “There’s something about the unfairness of it that drives me”

EXCLUSIVE: The agency juggernaut on bouncing back, what he would do with WPP and why Xi Jinping has the right philosophy.

by Adam Gale

On April 14 2018, Martin Sorrell was officially finished. The longest-serving FTSE 100 CEO had just been unceremoniously booted out of WPP, the adland empire he founded 32 years previously. 

All his considerable successes - from the daring reverse takeovers of agencies J Walter Thompson and later Ogilvy & Mather, to his pioneering of the now-dominant media holding company model, to his elevation to the knighthood in 2000 - seemingly counted for little in the face of a turgid scandal involving accusations of personal misconduct, misuse of company funds and mistreatment of employees.

Sorrell has always strenuously denied the accusations, and all that either he or WPP will say on the matter is that there was an investigation - the full results of which have never been released - that Sorrell was not found to have done anything wrong, and that he left the company.

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