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WPP CEO Departure May Herald Empire Breakup, Strategy Shift

  • Quarta to step in as executive chairman in the interim
  • Resignation follows allegations of personal misconduct
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Sorrell’s departure is a "seismic shift," says Roddy Davidson, media analyst at Shore Capital.Source: Bloomberg
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Martin Sorrell’s abrupt exit from WPP Plc leaves the advertising empire in search of a new chief executive officer for the first time and vulnerable to a break-up, as the sprawling network of agencies faces its biggest challenges since the global financial crisis.

Sorrell’s departure late Saturday from the world’s largest ad company puts WPP’s omissions in grooming a successor to its 73-year-old founder into sharp focus, even with shareholders long flagging the issue. It also raises the prospect of a split, as WPP loses the man holding the empire together.