- Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images
- WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell is the focus of an investigation into possible misuse of company assets and accusations of improper behavior, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- The high-profile ad executive has been struggling to steer WPP, a traditional ad-agency giant, amid vast changes in the marketing world.
- UPDATE: Sorrell is denying the allegations.
WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell is the focus of an investigation by the company’s board into possible misuse of assets and accusations of improper behavior, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
There are few details on the allegations, but according to The Journal, the ad giant’s board has hired a law firm and is looking to conduct an independent inquiry.
Sorrell, one of the more recognizable and outspoken figures in the advertising business, recently garnered attention for taking a massive pay cut as WPP faces its worst growth prospects in roughly a decade.
The traditional ad agency has been under tremendous pressure as the power in the industry has shifted to technology giants like Facebook and Google.
Meanwhile, the ad-agency sector as a whole has been accused of being less than supportive of women in leadership. For example, the Vice-owned creative agency Carrot is said to have fostered what many described as a hostile work environment for women.
WPP’s investigation began sometime last week and is ongoing, a representative confirmed.
The company provided this statement to Business Insider:
“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 investigation is ongoing. The allegations do not involve amounts which are material to WPP.”
Sorrell denied the allegation in a statement late Tuesday.
“I reject the allegation unreservedly but recognise that [WPP] has to investigate it,” Sorrell said. “I understand that this process will be completed shortly. Obviously, I shall play no part in the management of the investigation under way.
“As a significant share owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over thirty years ago, remains absolute – to our people, our clients, our shareholders and all of our many stakeholders.”