Ad group WPP to investigate alleged misconduct by CEO

Martin Sorrell rejects accusations, which come as board looks into misuse of firm assets

British advertising group WPP said on Tuesday it was conducting an investigation in response to an allegation of personal misconduct against its chief executive, Martin Sorrell, who has denied wrongdoing.

WPP, the world's biggest advertising company, issued a statement after the Wall Street Journal reported news of the investigation earlier in the day. WPP's board is also looking into whether Mr Sorrell misused company assets, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

Mr Sorrell, in response to WPP’s announcement, said he rejected the allegation “unreservedly” but recognised that the company had to investigate.

“I understand that this process will be completed shortly,” he said in a statement. “Obviously, I shall play no part in the management of the investigation under way.”


The board has hired a law firm to investigate some of the issues, the Journal reported. The company statement and the newspaper report gave no further details on the accusations.

Separately on Tuesday, securities litigation firm Block & Leviton said it was looking into whether WPP violated federal securities laws.

One of Britain’s best-known business leaders, Mr Sorrell built advertising group WPP from a two-man operation in a London office in 1985 to one that now dominates the industry with around 134,000 staff in more than 100 countries. – Reuters