Mark Read named WPP top dog following Sir Martin Sorrell departure

It comes months after the company’s founder left following personal misconduct allegations.

WPP has a new chief executive (PA)
WPP has a new chief executive (PA)

WPP has confirmed that Mark Read is to become chief executive of the advertising giant.

It comes months after the departure of long-standing boss Sir Martin Sorrell in controversial circumstances.

Mr Read, who previously headed up WPP’s Wunderman business, had been acting as joint operating chief alongside Andrew Scott, the firm’s European chief operating officer.

Prior to joining WPP, the 51-year-old co-founded and developed internet start-up WebRewards and did a stint at consultancy Booz Allen & Hamilton.

He is also chairman of the Natural History Museum Digital Council.

His appointment comes after Sir Martin left WPP, the company he founded more than 30 years ago, following allegations of personal misconduct.

Roberto Quarta, chairman of WPP, said: “The board carried out a rigorous selection process, assessing internal and external candidates.

“That process, alongside Mark’s wise and effective stewardship of the business in the last few months, left us with no doubt that he is the right leader for this company, and we are delighted to announce the board’s unanimous decision to appoint him as chief executive.”

Sir Martin’s reign saw him rake in millions in payouts and bonuses, triggering several shareholder rebellions.

He received £70.4 million in 2015 and £48.1 million in 2016.

Sir Martin Sorrell left WPP following allegations of personal misconduct (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Read will be paid an annual salary of £975,000 and be eligible for a yearly bonus of up to 250% of that amount, with mandatory deferral of at least 40% into shares.

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His long-term incentive plan will amount to 350% of salary and performance will be measured over a five-year period, WPP said.

The chief executive will receive a cash allowance of 20% of salary in lieu of pension and benefits of £35,000 per year.

Mr Scott, meanwhile, will continue in his role as chief operating officer on a permanent basis.

Sir Martin’s departure remains mired in controversy.

WPP carried out an inquiry into allegations that he misused company funds, but the details of the investigation were never revealed.

Sir Martin is still in line to receive £14 million from WPP. He will also collect nearly £20 million in payouts from WPP over the next five years as part of an exit deal with the firm.

He has since gone on to start up a rival business.

Press Association

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