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WPP salutes its diverse workforce as it reports revenue and profit growth

WPP took the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of its global workforce as it reported a 6.1 per cent growth in revenue to £12,235bn within its preliminary results for 2015, with headline profit at £1.245bn, an increase of 8.1 per cent.

The world’s largest advertising agency network saw billings increase by 3.1 per cent to £47.6bn with pre-tax profit up by 2.8 per cent to £1.5bn which benefited from restructuring costs set at £106m, IT transformation costs of £37m, investment write-downs valued at £79m and IT asset write-downs of £29m. The company also gained Chime Communications in a deal with private equity firm, Providence, agreed a strategic alliance through Kantar with Comscore and purchased IBOPE in Latin America.

During 2015, the group competed 52 transactions, 18 of which were investments and acquisitions made in new market, with 37 in quantative and digital sectors and eight driven by individual client needs, it revealed.

By region, North American reported revenue increased by 15.2 per cent, the United Kingdom by 8.4 per cent, Western Continental Europe declined by 5.6 per cent while Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Americas and Central and Eastern Europe combined saw a reported increase of 3.5 per cent.

2016 started with January bringing in like-for-like revenue increase of 4.2 per cent, with sales up 2.3 per cent on the previous year. A further 15 acquisition and investment deals have been so far in 2016, WPP revealed, with one in advertising and media investment management, two in data investment management, three in PR and seven in direct, digital and interactive. One has also been made in sports marketing and another in healthcare.

Within the report, chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, highlighted the uncertainty created by the upcoming ‘Brexit’ referendum in June, as well as the falling cost of oil.

Curiously, in concluding its report, WPP took the opportunity to highlight the diversity of it’s workforce; stating that it had “always been conscious of the need for diversity in the workplace” but not through a sense of moral responsibility.

“While we have never believed that only a teenager can understand a teenager or only a pensioner can understand a pensioner, there can be no doubt that diversity among our people is a professional necessity. For us, diversity is not simply a question of race, colour or gender; at least as important is a diversity of attitude, of mind-set, of ways of approaching problems. Uniform, conventional thinking will never of itself meet the demands of our clients,” it stated.

“The results reported here, presented in dispassionate numbers, are all the product of the inventive work of tens of thousands of talented individuals - and with no two alike. They come from countless different backgrounds and have countless different ways of looking at the world. They embody skills that range from the statistician to the screenwriter. They represent perhaps the most diverse example of diversity of any single organisation,” it added.

The group currently employs 190,000 people full time across 3,000 offices in 112 countries.

Stephen Lepitak

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