As has been speculated on B&T for some months, WPP has now confirmed that Mark Read is the global advertising giant’s new CEO, replacing Martin Sorrell who left under a cloud in April.
The search for Sorrell’s successor had taken an exhaustive five months, however, Read had been widely regarded as the favourite to take the top job from the get-go.
For his part, Sorrell immediately offered his “two cents” worth, calling the search a “complete waste of time” such was Read’s favouritism.
The 51-year-old Read has already told British media that he has no plans to break-up the £22 billion ($A39 billion) company nor shed staff. However, WPP has repeatedly said it would be willing to sell underperforming parts of the business.
Details of his package have also been revealed, including an annual salary will be £975,000 ($A1.74 million) with a potential bonus of £250,000 ($A446,260), up to 40 per cent can be deferred into shares over a two year period and a benefits package of £35,000 ($A62,476) within the contract.
However, it’s widely believed that if Read can steady the WPP ship and right its free-falling share price then he stands to make as much as £7 million pounds a year in bonuses.
In a statement released by WPP, Read said of his appointment: “Our industry is going through a period of structural change, not structural decline, and if we embrace that change we can look ahead to an exciting and successful future. Our mission now is to release the full potential that exists within the company for the benefit of our clients, to accelerate our transformation and simplify our offering, and to position WPP for stronger growth.
“To achieve that we need to foster a culture that attracts the best and brightest: inclusive, respectful, collaborative, diverse. What makes our company special is its people, and I am very proud to have been given the chance to build a new WPP with them,” added Read.
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 officer of WPP.
“Recognised for his leadership throughout the industry, he has an intimate understanding of the business, he enjoys very strong internal support, and he has earned the respect and endorsement of our clients with his constant focus on their needs. He has played a central role in many of WPP’s most successful investments and initiatives, and he has deep experience at board and operational level. Most recently, Mark led the transformation of Wunderman into one of the world’s top digital agencies, and he understands the importance of culture in creating successful organisations. In short, he is in every way a 21st-century CEO,” Quarta added.