In 2 Months, WPP's Read Puts Big Stamp On Holding Company

WPP made lots of headlines Wednesday, the biggest being that it’s putting research arm Kantar on the block. 

That’s a huge development, and one that illustrates that CEO Mark Read is wasting little time putting his mark on the holding company.

He was named CEO just last month. Obviously, he still has a lot of work to do, given the less-than-stellar third-quarter earnings report that was issued Thursday morning. 

Read is a veteran of the company — he ran WPP Digital for years and was CEO of Wunderman before being named CEO — and hit the ground running.

In his first few weeks on the job, he merged VML and iconic creative shop Young & Rubicam, naming VML head CEO Jon Cook to run the joint operation.

The Kantar unit could fetch in the neighborhood of $4.9 billion, according to analysts. No doubt some of those proceeds would go toward reducing the firm’s hefty debt load, which stood at around $6.4 billion at the half-year mark.



The company said today it was integrating its healthcare operation in the U.S. into several agency brands, including VML&R, Ogilvy and Wunderman. Those agencies are probably appreciative of the added revenues being added to their coffers.

Also, according to a report on The Wall Street Journal’s website, CEO Mark Read wants to keep a keener eye on pitch activity at the media agencies and has ordered he be informed of all reviews involving $20 million or plus revenue.

Per the Journal, the change is intended to foster greater collaboration among agencies when big pieces of business are at stake.

Yes, it seems like Read is a man with a plan. Which is what it will take to get WPP back on track again. 

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