WPP Imposes 5-Month Hiring Freeze

With the company now forecasting no growth for 2018, WPP has imposed a hiring freeze that’s effective at least through the first quarter of 2019.

Bloomberg first reported the news, indicating the freeze edict came in the form of a corporate memo dated Oct. 26, just a day after the company issued a weak third-quarter financial report that sent shares tumbling by more than 15%.

Some 2,000 new hires could be affected, per Bloomberg.

WPP reported a net sales decline of 1.5% for Q3 and issued new guidance estimating that net sales would fall between 0.5% and 1% for full-year 2018.

The firm is in a period of transition, as the new regime headed by Mark Read determines a plan to get back to growth mode.

The company will announce the results of a strategic review in December.

Word of the freeze comes as another interesting nugget was revealed about the company by former WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, who was forced out in April. At an industry event in London late last week, he disclosed that he briefly discussed a possible sale of the company to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway back in 2012.

Sorrell noted that talks didn’t progress far, as the two sides were far apart on price.

Still, the timing of those talks is interesting, coming about a year before the ill-fated Publicis-Omnicom merger was announced.

And there’s lots of speculation about further consolidation in Adland. It seems just a matter of time before MDC Partners is sold or broken up. Or we see a merger between one of the industry’s big holding companies and a major consultant.


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