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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.

Go deeper

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

5 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.