WPP will be reviewing its policies and codes of conduct and how these can be improved upon. This was revealed by Mark Read (pictured), chief operating officer, WPP, in a staff memo seen by Marketing, which added that the review will be conducted by leadership teams throughout the group.
The memo also addresses recent press reports surrounding Sir Martin Sorrell’s exit and behaviour towards WPP employees. To this, Read said:
“Although we can’t comment on specific allegations, I feel we should remind ourselves of and reinforce the kind of values we want and need to have within every part of our business: values of fairness, tolerance, kindness and – again – respect.”
The memo also raised WPP’s “Right to Speak” helpline, which Read added is available to everyone across the group and allows them to “raise issues without fear of reprisal”. The service is also an independently operated one and protects the identity of anyone who would rather not speak directly to their line manager or other senior people about their concerns.
“We all want WPP and its agencies to continue to be home to the world’s best talent, which means creating a positive, supportive and inclusive culture in every office. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do,” Read said.
The memo comes amidst reports from The Wall Street Journal which alleged that he spent company money on prostitute services, allegations with Sorrell has “strenuously denied”, an Adweek report said. The report added that Sorrell could not comment further, citing non-disclosure agreements signed when he stepped down from WPP. Earlier this month, Sorrell said that Derriston Capital “will not compete directly” with WPP, a move which came shortly after Sorrell announced that he will be making a comeback through the company.
According to an exclusive interview with Reuters, WPP’s spokesperson said that Sorrell had spoken to two of its shareholders including fund manager at Jupiter Asset Management Alastair Gunn, who was assured by Sorrell that his new venture “will not undermine” the advertising network. Sorrell added that he “would not seek to hurt” the company he started 33 years back.
When Sorrell left WPP, he rejected all allegations of “personal misconduct”. His exit also saw the chairman of WPP Roberto Quarta assuming the role of executive chairman until a new CEO is appointed. Meanwhile, CEO of Wunderman and WPP Digital, Mark Read, as well as WPP corporate development director and COO, Europe, Andrew Scott, have been appointed as joint COOs of WPP.
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