The advertising giant confirmed that an investigation is underway in a statement issued Wednesday. “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 statement said.
The exact nature of the allegation remains unclear but is widely reported to center on use of company funds. “The investigation is ongoing,” WPP said, adding: “The allegations do not involve amounts which are material to WPP.”
London-headquartered WPP has extensive operations around the world spanning advertising, PR, market research, and content production. Sorrell is one of the best-known chief executives in international media. He has given keynote addresses at the MipTV convention in Cannes and the IBC broadcast tech confab in Amsterdam.
He responded to the allegation in comments reported by the BBC. “Reports in the media have stated that WPP is investigating an allegation of financial impropriety by me, specifically as to the use of company funds. This allegation is being investigated by a law firm. I reject the allegation unreservedly but recognize that the company has to investigate it,” he said.
Sorrell said the probe would be wrapped up shortly and added: “As a significant share owner, my commitment to the company, which I founded over 30 years ago, remains absolute – to our people, our clients, our shareholders and all of our many stakeholders.”