Sorrell vs WPP is not about the money, what’s at stake is principle and pride

As mud is thrown, WPP might come to regret taking what may be a step more motivated by personal animus rather than sound commercial logic, writes Chris Blackhurst

Friday 30 April 2021 21:30
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<p>The WPP founder said his old firm’s decision to withhold payments from him was ‘petty’</p>

The WPP founder said his old firm’s decision to withhold payments from him was ‘petty’

N

ot so long ago, annual reports from WPP, the advertising and communications giant, were collectors’ items.

They weren’t treasured for the detail of the company’s performance or the various pats on the back. Few read them for those. What was delightful were the pages and pages devoted to explaining the calculation of the remuneration for the firm’s founder and driving force, Sir Martin Sorrell.

He’d built a £30bn (yes, that’s what WPP was worth at one stage) empire from a small business that produced shopping baskets. Under Sorrell, Wire & Plastic Products bestrode the world stage, snapping up media agencies galore, many of them household names. Multinational corporations were queuing up for its various services. Across it all sat Sorrell.

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