During a meeting with financial analysts last week, WPP CEO Mark Read was pointedly asked a question about Accenture and whether the consultant’s somewhat lacking media offering had held it back from making further inroads into Adland’s turf.
But Read, to his credit, didn’t take the bait. He said he had taken a vow to “talk positively about WPP’s accomplishments” and not talk negatively about industry competitors.
“I’m a little fed up with people trying to grow their businesses by criticizing other people’s businesses,” Read said.
Even though the question was about Accenture, you know he had to be thinking about a certain former WPP CEO who has been very critical of the firm’s current regime and strategy, while trying to grow his own new business at the same time. (Hint: It starts with S4, ends with Capital.)
On a separate point about Accenture, Read did acknowledge that WPP has “some concerns” about media audits of the company’s clients or agency reviews that are conducted by competitors like Accenture. But he denied previous reports that WPP had “put out an edict” that it would not participate in Accenture-led reviews.
He said in cases where such potential conflicts arise, “we are proceeding carefully, making sure there is separation” from directly competing units. But he added the holding company would be more “comfortable” if concerns about such separation wasn’t an issue at all.