Martin Sorrell stands down as WPP CEO

WPP (WPP) Earns Hold Rating from Berenberg Bank

Sources suggest the law firm could complete its probe by April 20, although WPP has given no timetable since announcing the investigation was launched on April 3. It said in a statement that "the allegations do not involve amounts which are material to WPP".

However, Sorrell notes that: "As I look ahead, I see that the current disruption we are experiencing is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business, our over 200,000 people and their 500,000 or so dependents, and the clients we serve in 112 countries".

"It wasn't a boardroom battle but the way they behaved in his eyes, the manner they handled the investigation, in the end he thought I'm 73-years old I don't need this s**t", one person close to the process said.

Mr Sorrell is among the most influential advertising professionals globally and also the longest-serving FTSE-100 chief executive, who has run WPP since setting up the business in 1985.

WPP says Sorrell has stepped down as CEO following an internal investigation into still-unspecified misconduct, ending a 33-year career at the world's largest agency holding company.

"His departure will leave the company he built virtually from ‎scratch facing profound questions about its future direction", he said. The appointments would likely be on an interim basis while a search is conducted, one of the people said.

Sir Martin said his position at WPP had been a passion for so long but it was in "the best interests of the business" for him to resign. During this time, the Company has been successful because it has valued and nurtured outstanding talent at every level - within and well beyond our leadership teams.

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Even a first-generation Jewish immigrant at Britain whose parents first came from Kiev, Ukraine, " Mr. Sorrell got his big gap in advertising when he joined Saatchi & Saatchi in 1975.

As the architect of the global empire which began in the humble form of the cash shell Wire and Plastic Products, Sir Martin has amassed rich rewards from his success.

He previously worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, and was knighted in the Queen's New Year honours list in 2000.

It largely outperformed its peers Omnicom, Publicis and IPG in the years that followed the financial crisis as the group pitched aggressively for new work.

However, he always fiercely defended his income, saying it was related to how well the company he started from nothing was doing.

WPP declined to comment on Saturday evening, while Sir Martin could not be reached for comment.

The firm is treating it as if Sorrell retired, and he will be awarded stock over the next five years as part of his departure.

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