Breakfast Briefing: WPP's 'not pretty' year; Odds on Hope Hicks' replacement

And scroll down for more on Walmart's gun sales decision and why three corporate giants are facing an activist boycott on Thursday.

Outgoing White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (Photo credit: Getty Images).
Outgoing White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (Photo credit: Getty Images).

WPP just had its worst earnings report in years. In what CEO Martin Sorrell called "not a pretty year" (Financial Times), the world’s largest marketing holding company forecasted no growth for 2018 as clients pull back on spending (Wall Street Journal). Its marketing capitalization fell by $2.6 billion and shares were down nearly 13% by 7:30 a.m. EST (CNBC). Revenue earned by WPP’s PR and public affairs group dropped 0.8% in the fourth quarter on a like-for-like basis, but was up 1.7% for the full year (PRWeek).

New from PRWeek this morning: How WeWork’s Jennifer Skyler built the startup’s comms team from the ground up; Longtime Brunswick executive Richard Jacques has left the firm; Check out who’s on the shortlist for the 2018 PRWeek Global Awards.

Who could replace Hope Hicks? Two names being floated as the next White House communications director are Trump comms aide Mercedes Schlapp, who has reportedly been angling for a bigger role (CNN), and adviser Stephen Miller (Politico). Bonus reads: More on Hicks’ departure from The New Yorker, The Daily Beast, and New York.

Walmart said Wednesday night that it is raising the minimum age to buy firearms in its stores to 21 and removing weapons that resemble assault-style rifles from its ecommerce website (CNBC). The company announced the policy change with a straightforward statement. Dick’s Sporting Goods announced similar changes in a letter from its CEO earlier on Wednesday (PRWeek).

Gun control activists are urging customers to boycott three companies on Thursday that have not cut business ties to the National Rifle Association. Celebrities and social media campaigners want consumers to take a break from Apple, FedEx, and Amazon on Thursday as part of the #March1NRABoycott (Daily News).

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