Well, here’s something I bet a lot of WPPers would like to do: tell Martin Sorrell, former chief at the holding company, to shut up.
In so many words, that’s what Johnny Hornby told Sorrell to do, via a story today in the UK’s Evening Standard.
Hornby is global CEO at The&Partnership, which WPP has a large minority stake in.
If you’ve been keeping up with industry news over the past year you are aware of the ugly split that Sorrell had with WPP last April and how the two sides have been taking pot shots at each other ever since. It seems like Sir Martin needs to have an ongoing feud with someone. For years that someone was Maurice Levy, the long-time CEO of Publicis Groupe. Sadly, for journalists covering the ad beat certainly, Levy retired in 2017 and that feud ended rather abruptly.
Now Sorrell’s whipping boy is his former employer, in which he still has a sizeable investment stake while ramping up his new company holding company S4 Capital.
Hornby told the Standard: “Martin needs to literally mind his own business. He is clever and talented but his constant carping about [WPP CEO] Mark Read and [chief operating officer] Andrew Scott is verging on unacceptable.”
Hornby told the publication that Read and Scott had shown “loyalty” to Sorrell and Read had been the architect of digital deals at WPP similar to the ones now being done by Sorrell’s new firm.
Hornby also asserted that the model his own agency has developed of embedding agency people at clients' offices to foster speed and efficiency proved such an irritant to Sorrell that the two executives couldn’t stand to be in same room with each other.
Hmmmm, maybe we have another feud in the making. Oh, what fun!