WPP Announces That It Will (Eventually) Replace Sir Martin

By Erik Oster 

As Reebok reminded us yesterday, nobody lives forever…even absurdly wealthy holding company CEOs. So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that WPP has begun looking at internal and external candidates to succeed founder Martin Sorrell as CEO, Campaign reports.

“At some point we all leave our jobs,” WPP chairman Roberto Quarta told shareholders at the company’s 2015 Annual Report. “Whether, in Sir Martin’s case, that happens tomorrow, in one, two, three, four or five years, or even over a longer period, we have already begun to identify internal and external candidates who should be considered.”

“I and the other independent members of the board will continue to focus on this in 2016 and beyond,” he added.


So, while the long search for a successor has begun, you probably shouldn’t expect Sorrell to step down soon. Quarta also confirmed in the 2015 Annual Report that Sorrell would receive £62.8 million in compensation for 2015, up from £42.7 million the year before. We can’t imagine that kind of money is easy to walk away from.

The pseudo-announcement also follows this week’s news that WPP revenue rose in Q1 and beat expectations because, as Bloomberg put it yesterday, “clients spent more in the U.S., U.K. and western Europe” for their advertising needs. That story is also worth reading primarily for this amazing quote from a British analyst, emphasis ours:

“If you’re looking for banana skins there aren’t any here. Against uncertainty from the Brexit vote and a possible Trump presidency, WPP has posted a confident outlook and is gaining good momentum.”

This despite the fact that, as Sorrell himself puts it, “we’re not in the advertising business anymore.”

Someone has to fill the nobleman’s well-polished shoes, and we would like to float the name of Jordan Zimmerman for consideration. Why? Because we hear he’s very good at negotiating deals. One might even say he “makes the best deals.

Think about it, WPP.