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Photo by Francois G. Durand/Getty Images

Sir Martin Sorrell has resigned as CEO of WPP, one of the largest advertising and public relations companies in the world, the company said on Saturday.

Why it matters: Sorrell is considered one of the most influential people in media, advertising and marketing. But he recently faced a board investigation into his behavior (with no material conclusions) and has faced headwinds trying to navigate his company through a grim advertising marketplace.

Sorrell's resignation came just weeks after the company's board announced it was investigating him for misuse of company assets and allegations of improper personal behavior. WPP says the investigation into allegations of misconduct against Sorrell has concluded and that the allegation did not involve "amounts that are material."

WPP Chairman Roberto Quarta will become executive chairman of the company until it finds a new CEO, according to a WPP statement. Mark Read, CEP of Wunderman and WPP Digital, and Andrew Scott, WPP Corporate Development Director and CEO Europe, have been appointed as joint COOs of WPP. Sorell will help with the transition.

"Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years ... However, I believe it is in the best interests of the business if I step down now. I leave the Company in very good hands, as the Board knows."
— Sir Martin Sorrell in a statement

Sorell had been the chief executive at WPP for over 30 years. He led what was once a small British manufacturer in the 1980s through many high-stakes acquisitions, including the takeovers of J. Walter Thompson in 1987, Ogilvy Group in 1989 and Young & Rubicam in 2000.

  • Those acquisitions led WPP to become one of the largest advertising companies in the world by revenue.
  • Sorrell has also been one of the leading voices in the industry in putting pressure on Google and Facebook to take responsibility for the content on their platforms.

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A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

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France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

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A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."