Is Mark Read The Next WPP CEO?

The Wall Street Journal is out with a story today reporting that Mark Read, co-COO at WPP, is now the leading candidate to succeed Martin Sorrell, who departed in April. The WSJ based its story “people familiar with matter.” 

It’s no secret that Read has been a leading internal candidate from the get-go. In fact, he’s been considered an inside favorite to succeed Sorrell since the company started seriously looking at succession plans, right around the time Roberto Quarta joined the firm as board chairman in 2015. 

And of course he’s British, as are a number of other executives reportedly considered for the job who work outside of WPP. Let’s face it, a non-Brit has about as much chance of getting the job as someone who wasn’t French succeeding Maurice Levy at Publicis. In other words, slim to none. 



Among other reported British subjects being considered for the WPP CEO slot include Unilever CMO Keith Weed and Dentsu Aegis Network CEO Jerry Buhlmann. And according to the WSJ’s story today, Australian-born Hamish McLennan, the former head of Y&R, was a candidate, but is no longer in the running. 

The Connecticut-born Tim Armstrong was also reportedly a candidate at one point, although the newspaper said today he took himself out of the running. 

The paper smartly hedged its bet, stressing that the process is not complete. It quoted a company rep as saying as much, adding that no announcement is imminent. 

Still, sounds like it’s Read’s job to lose.


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