Sir Martin Sorrell, the founder and CEO of the world's largest advertising company WPP, has resigned after 33 years since he was named its chief executive in 1986. While the timing was sudden (and perhaps calculated to limit immediate PR damage), his exit is not all that surprising.
Sorrell's unique relationship with WPP allowed him to run it autocratically with an iron hand - leading to a "Sorrellcentricity" that critics say had made it his personal fiefdom.
In the statement issued about Sorrell's resignation, WPP says the investigation into the allegations has concluded and "did not involve amounts that are material".
As for Sorrell himself, he was quiet on Twitter.
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"If WPP does well, I do well", he told the Press Association in April 2016.
For more than three decades Sir Martin Sorrell dedicated his life to transforming a small Kent-based manufacturer of shopping baskets, Wire and Plastic Products, into the world's biggest marketing services group. It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long.
"As I look ahead, I see that the current disruption we are experiencing is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business, our over 200,000 people and their 500,000 or so dependents, and the clients we serve in 112 countries".
Sorrell resigned saying to the WPP staff "That is why I have decided that, in your interest, in the interest of our clients, in the interest of all shareholders both big and small and in the interest of all other stakeholders, it is best for me to step aside". He was the highest-paid CEO among FTSE 100 companies according to study of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the High Pay Center, for the year 2015 and 2016.
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Sources familiar with the situation said that the outcome of the investigation, which is being carried out by U.S. law firm WilmerHale for WPP chairman Roberto Quarta, will be available by the end of the week. He has denied any wrongdoing.
He received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.
"During this time, the company has been successful because it has valued and nurtured outstanding talent at every level - within and well beyond our leadership teams".
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