WPP’s Next CEO Due Some Time This Year

By Erik Oster 

With cloning technology not quite where it needs to be yet, 71-year-old WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell will have to settle for the next best thing in WPP’s search for a new CEO. Sorrell’s wife Cristiana Falcone Sorrell is expected to give birth to the couple’s first child some time this year, as reported in The Drum and elsewhere.

This development comes after the weekend announcement that Mick Jagger, who is only a year older that Sir Martin, will be having his eighth child with current girlfriend and ballerina Melanie Hamrick. (Not that the two are related.)

Joking aside, the news also follows WPP’s announcement in April that it had begun an internal and external search for Sorrell’s successor. With his first child with his current wife on the way (he has three sons from a previous marriage), speculation about Sorrell’s eventual retirement will likely increase, especially since there is, at the moment, no Arthur Sadoun waiting in the wings. It also seems possible that this news explains the timing of WPP’s April announcement, although WPP made clear in that announcement that Sorrell’s retirement would be happening anytime soon.

“At some point we all leave our jobs,” WPP chairman Roberto Quarta told shareholders at the time of 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.”