WPP advisory to reveal if it will back shareholder protest over Sorrell exit ahead of AGM

Sir Marin Sorrell, former chief executive of WPP

WPP advisory group ISS is set to reveal whether it will back shareholders in a protest over the departure of Sir Martin Sorrell.

Sorrell quit the company he founded in April in the midst of an investigation into allegations of financial and personal misconduct. Since then, the full circumstances behind his resignation have been kept confidential due to data privacy laws.

But, the advertising group’s chairman Roberto Quarta has been under mounting pressure from WPP shareholders to reveal the results of the investigation and the full reasons behind Sorrell’s exit.

Shareholder advisory groups Glass Lewis and Pirc have already advised voting against the re-election of Quarta over his refusal to disclose.

“There is no disclosure regarding the reason for the sudden departure of the group chief executive. Shareholders should be informed of significant company events such as this,” Pirc said.

Meanwhile, Glass Lewis, advised that Quarta’s failure to “adequately prepare” for the replacement of Sorrell had been heightened by the “opaque nature” of the investigation into his conduct.

ISS, believed to be the more influential of the advisory agencies, is expected to reveal in the coming days whether it would also back a potential shareholder revolt at the group’s annual meeting on 13 June.

The Times has reported that Quarta has been trying to keep leading shareholders on side ahead of the AGM.

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