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Sir Martin Sorrell 'disappointed' as Britain votes to Leave European Union


By Stephen Lepitak | -

June 24, 2016 | 4 min read

The decision by the British public to leave the European Union has "disappointed" WPP's chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell as initial reactions to the decision begin to emerge.

Sir Martin Sorrell

Sir Martin Sorrell

In the end, the vote to leave was close as 51.9 per cent choosing to vote leave, with 17,410,742 votes cast in favour as opposed to 16,141,241 votes to remain, according to the BBC.

On a busy day of media briefings in Cannes, Sorrell briefly stated: "I am very disappointed, but the electorate has spoken. The resulting uncertainty, which will be considerable, will obviously slow decision-making and deter activity. This is not good news, to say the least. However, we must deploy that stiff upper lip and make the best of it. Four of WPP’s top ten markets are in Western Continental Europe and we must build our presence there even further. It just underlines the importance of implementing our strategy: fast-growth markets (BRICs and Next 11), digital, data - and horizontality, which ironically means getting our people to work together, not apart!"

The value of the pound fell by more than 10 per cent at one stage following the result, reaching its lowest level since 1985.

"As the UK voted to leave the EU after 43 years. Advertisers will be assessing if this means advantage or problems to come," stated Ian Twinn, director general of Advertisers membership organisation, ISBA.

"First, this is a decisive result reflecting a call for change. Secondly it is not clear what change will look like in the short term or the final new relationship with Brussels.'

"The UK ad industry remains strong as a global player and we are confident that this vote provides significant opportunities as the dust settles.

"We now start a two year period whilst we agree with Brussels what our relationship will be. There will be a great deal in terms of advertising and consumer law that came from the EU that will remain in UK law" he concluded.

"I didn't support leaving the EU, but despite the surprise of this result, nor do I agree with those who predict disaster. The UK will continue to lead the world in the depth and breadth of it's creative talent and creative industries. The fundamentals stay the same and while there will be much to discuss and plan for, it is important we don't lose sight of our talent, strength and global influence," stated Chris Hirst, CEO Havas, U.K. & Europe.

Earlier in the day, Havas global chief Yannick Bollore promised that the group, founded in France, would continue to invest in Britain no matter the outcome of the vote.

He said: "Dear British friends, Whatever the result of the vote tonight, the UK will remain at the forefront of our Havas European Family! #Brexit".

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