World's top advertising executive resigns amid allegations of personal misconduct

News Corp's BSkyB Takeover

However, Sorrell will assist with the transition as the company seeks a new leader.

The departure of Sorrell, who resigned on Saturday before learning the findings of an internal investigation into alleged personal misconduct, is also being viewed as a potential catalyst for a break-up of WPP. It added that the 73 year old would be "treated as having retired" and that his share awards would be "pro-rated in line with the plan rules and will vest over the next five years, to the extent group performance targets are achieved". The Company has four segments: Advertising and Media Investment Management; Consumer Insight (formerly Information, Insight & Consultancy); Public Relations & Public Affairs, and Branding & Identity, Healthcare and Specialist Communications, which includes WPP Digital and direct, digital, promotional and relationship marketing.

His fall from grace took less than a month after WPP announced on 3 April that it was investigating the allegations.

In a statement, he said it was "in the best interests of the business if I step down now".

"The allegation did not involve amounts that are material", it said. "It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long", stated Sorrell in an emotional note to WPP staff.

The world's biggest ad group chose to launch the investigation into its chief executive after a whistleblower made allegations.

Sky News has learnt that WPP, which owns a string of global advertising and media buying networks supplying numerous world's biggest companies, is preparing to announce Sir Martin's departure as soon as Saturday night.

The acquisitions included the J. Walter Thompson Group, the Young & Rubicam Group and the Ogilvy Group.

The probe served to intensify scrutiny on Sorrell and WPP's succession planning, long criticized by investors as being insufficient, prompting speculation that a CEO long seen as unstoppable might be forced to step aside.

Roberto Quarta, the chairman, and Nicole Seligman, senior non-executive director and an experienced corporate lawyer, set up a board sub-committee to examine the claims through a formal process.

That has left WPP and its peers - the French group Publicis and Interpublic of the United States - being buffeted by headwinds which also include the disintermediation of digital platforms such as Facebook.

As some of you know, my family has expanded recently, WPP will always be my baby too.As a Founder, I can say that WPP is not just a matter of life or death, it was, is and will be more important than that. Good fortune and Godspeed to all of you...now Back to the Future.

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