Shares in WPP (LON:WPP) have lost ground in London this morning as the company announced that its chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell was quitting the company. The move came after the advertising giant recently appointed an independent counsel to look into allegations of ‘personal misconduct’ by Sorrell.
As of 08:34 BST, WPP’s share price had given up 1.52 percent to 1,170.00p, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.04 percent lower at 7,261.86 points. The group’s shares have lost just under a third of their value over the past year, as compared with about a one-percent dip in the Footsie.
WPP chief executive steps down
WPP announced in a statement on Saturday that its chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell had stepped down with immediate effect. Roberto Quarta, Chairman of WPP, becomes Executive Chairman until the appointment of a new boss. The advertising giant further noted that the investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Sorrell had concluded, reiterating that the allegation did not involve material amounts.
“Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years,” Sorrell said in the statement, adding, however, that he believed that it was ‘in the best interests of the business’ if he stepped down now.
Sorrell in line for up to £20m award
WPP further noted that Sorrell would be treated as having retired, meaning that his share awards will be pro-rated in line with the plan rules and will vest over the next five years, to the extent group performance targets are achieved. The BBC noted in its coverage of the news that the maximum number of shares he may be awarded is 1.65 million, worth £19 million at current prices.