Martin Sorrell May be Out of WPP, But that Has Not Silenced Him
Before his resignation, Martin Sorrell was one of the top influential heads in the advertising industry considering his input in the three decades as the Chief Executive of WPP. Following his abrupt resignation in April, there were investigations on his alleged misconduct that threw him out of the limelight.
However, by the end of May, the former Chief Executive had established a new advertising company known as S4 Capital. He pitched the company at the annual advertising bacchanal in Cannes, France last month. At the event, Mr. Sorrell was keen to defend hisreputation and criticized WPP for its handling of his departure.
Last week, Mr. Sorrell, had a direct clash with his former employees as they both vied to buythe same Dutch marketing firm. Interestingly, WPP Lawyers wrote to Mr. Sorrell informing him that his futurestocks awards, which are worth millions of dollars are at risk with his intention to purchase the Dutchfirm.
The letter indicated that WPP had considered buying the firm – MediaMonks, from November 2017. The letter quotes the heavy engagement of Mr. Sorrell with theacquisition process particularly his travelling to the Netherlands for a meeting with the management team of the company. The letter further indicated that Sorrell’s pursuit was a breach of his confidentiality agreement and would threaten his stock awards.
However, Mr. Sorrell’s spokesman asserted that the claims were inaccurate and were an illustration of a weak WPP that was attempting to destabilize the bid for S4 Capital to acquire MediaMonks. The ongoing scuffle has highlighted Mr. Sorrell’s ambitions and his efforts to move past his unceremonious exit from the WPP.
Jon Bond, co-chairman of the digital marketing firm Shipyard, says that it is not a coincidence that Mr. Sorrell is bidding on the same firm as WPP. To him, it is more of a rebound and not a clearly though-out strategy.
However, Mr. Sorrell considers his new firm too small compared to WPP which possesses over 100 Marketing and communication firms. He aims at using the next five to seven years for developing the firm. There are plans to publicly trade S4 Capital using the listing of an existing company.
MediaMonks was established in 2001 and has eleven offices across the world in addition to 750 employees. It has worked on creative projects with big companies such as Google, Ikea, Bose and Lego. When questioned on the bids by WPP and S4 capital, the digital production company said that it did not comment on speculations.
Greg Paul, a principal at R3, a consulting firm, says that Mr. Sorrell will succeed in attracting agencies because of his good reputation in the business world.