WPP to appoint Mark Read as CEO

The world's largest ad agency group has ended its search for Martin Sorrell's successor.

WPP will confirm Mark Read as its new chief executive next week, according to a source with knowledge of the search.

A WPP spokesman declined to comment ahead of a statement to the stock market ,which is expected around September 4 when the group announces half-year results.

Ever since the abrupt and messy departure of former CEO Martin Sorrell in April, who was at the helm of the holding group for 32 years, Read has been seen as the front-runner for the chief executive role.

Read was promoted to joint chief operating officer of WPP from chief executive of Wunderman after Sorrell’s exit.

Earlier this week, Pivotal Research Senior Analyst Brian Wieser told Campaign: "Almost every investor would regard Mark Read as an excellent successor to Sorrell."

"Investors know who he is," Wieser explained, referring to Read’s three-year stint as global chief executive of Wunderman and decade on the WPP board as strategy director.

"If it’s not Mark Read, it’s got to be a spectacular choice that surprises people out of leftfield," Wieser said. "The bar is very high."

Read worked at WPP from 1989 to 1995 and rejoined in 2002. He was on the board from 2006 to 2015 when he stepped up to run Wunderman. He also worked at agencies Ogilvy & Mather and Hill & Knowlton in London.

Before joining WPP in 2002, he was a principal at consultancy Booz-Allen & Hamilton, working in media and marketing.

This story first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign

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