Only weeks after he was ousted from WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell’s already plotting his next move that could see him launch a competitor to his former company.
Sorrell left WPP in mid-April after alleged “personal misconduct”. However, a senior WPP staffer here in Australia recently told B&T it was probably little more than a fight with board members over the 73-year-old’s succession plans, or lack thereof.
According to reports on UK’s Sky News, Sorrell will take the helm at investment firm Derriston Capital with a view to using it as a means of returning to the marketing services industry. S4, an apparent reference to four generations of Sorrell’s family, will then replace Derriston as the company’s name.
He is free to start a new venture because he never had a non-compete agreement in his WPP contract.
No official announcement has been made and Sorrell shrugged off the Derriston move as little more than “market speculation” in the UK press. However, some sort of formal confirmation is expected sometime next week.
Since his departure from WPP, Sorrell has been very public about his next moves in the media and marketing space and was adamant he would not retire.
“I’m not going to go into voluntary or involuntary retirement,” he told the NYC 18 conference in New York three weeks ago.
“I love the industry. It was serendipity when I met the Saatchi brothers in 1975. Over the years since then that we’ve operated in the industry, I’ve found it an extremely attractive industry to continue a career in.”
On his sudden departure from the company he founded, he said: “After being extracted, I can see much more clearly where there are the growth pieces and where there are the challenges.
“I don’t want to say the traditional ad business isn’t capable of reinvention. It is capable of reinvention. And it will be. All the people running holding companies understand this. They’re not silly.”