June 21, 2018 / 11:22 AM / 10 months ago

Sorrell hits out at WPP over handling of his sudden departure

CANNES, France, June 21 (Reuters) - Martin Sorrell, the recently deposed founder of advertising giant WPP, hit out over his treatment from the board of the British company on Thursday at his first major public appearance since he quit in April.

The 73-year-old left the world’s biggest advertising company in April over an allegation of personal misconduct which he has denied. However neither Sorrell or the company have given any details about the nature of the complaint.

Speaking at a packed event in Cannes organised by The Drum advertising publisher, Sorrell said he had asked the company to conduct an investigation over how news about the allegation had leaked to the Wall Street Journal.

“The most damaging thing that happened during the course of those events ... was the leak over the Easter weekend at the very top of the company, and which to my knowledge there has been no investigation whatsoever,” he said.

Sorrell noted that the company has since said that all employees are treated equally.

“I would disagree violently with that premise, not all employees have been treated equally.”

“There has been no investigation to my knowledge of how, why and what the leak consisted of and I think that is a fundamental flaw,” he said, adding that he had requested one.

In his absence, the company has appointed Mark Read and Andrew Scott to run the company. As a 2 percent shareholder, Sorrell said he thought the two should be permanent CEOs.

“I’m not saying two individuals because nobody could replace me individually, but those two individuals have complementary skills,” he said, to laughter. “One on their own would not be sufficient in my view but two together can be a very powerful and potent combination.” (Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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