WPP confirms search has begun for CEO Martin Sorrell's successor

Sorrell has led the company since founding it in 1985.

LONDON: WPP has begun to look at external candidates to replace Martin Sorrell as the chief executive of WPP, the company confirmed on Friday.

In its 2015 Annual Report, the company’s chairman, Roberto Quarta, sought to assure shareholders that it is preparing for life after Sorrell, who has led the company since founding it in 1985.

"At some point, we all leave our jobs. The question is when. Whether, in Sir Martin’s case, that happens tomorrow, in one, two, three, four, or five years, or even over a longer period, we have already begun to identify internal and external candidates who should be considered," Quarta said. "Shareowners should have no doubt that we already have a strong pool of internal and external candidates to draw from... I and the other independent members of the board will continue to focus on this in 2016 and beyond."

The company also confirmed Sorrell will receive £70.4 million ($103.3 million) for 2015, up from £42.7 million. The bulk of this comes from a £62.8 million long-term bonus in shares.

Quarta, who joined as chairman last year, added he will consult with major shareholders this year before putting forward a new pay plan in 2017, as well as consulting them about Sorrell’s successor.

WPP posted its first-quarter earnings last Thursday, with revenue from its PR and public affairs group up 2.3% on a like-for-like basis. As a whole, the holding company's revenue increased 5.1%. Cohn & Wolfe was hailed as a standout performer.

This story originally appeared on Campaign UK.

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