WPP COO Mark Read issues company values reminder to staff after Sorrell headlines

Mark Read, interim WPP CEO

Interim WPP boss Mark Read has circulated an email to all staff reminding them of company values following extensive press coverage about its former chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell.

In his memo to the marcomms giant's 200,000 strong workforce, Reid said that "all WPP working environments must be places where people feel safe and supported" but sidestepped the reports concerning Sorrell's departure that have dominated headlines this week.

Read, who was named joint chief operating officer at WPP following Sorrell's exit and is in the running to be the next CEO, wrote: "I feel we should remind ourselves of and reinforce the kind of values we want and need to have within every part of our business: values of fairness, tolerance, kindness and – again – respect."

He also said the company cannot comment specifically on the allegations levied at Sorrell, which the former WPP chief executive "strenuously denies".

WPP will host its annual general meeting tomorrow, with the nature of Sorrell's departure expected to be one of the issues raised by shareholders.

Read the memo below in its entirety:

When I come to work I expect to be treated with respect by my colleagues, and every one of you reading this has the right to expect the same.

You will no doubt have read the press coverage this week about WPP and Martin Sorrell, including allegations about his behaviour towards people at the parent company. Although we can’t comment on specific allegations, I feel we should remind ourselves of and reinforce the kind of values we want and need to have within every part of our business: values of fairness, tolerance, kindness and – again – respect.

It should hardly need saying that all WPP working environments must be places where people feel safe and supported. They must also be places where people are able to raise concerns if they want to, and where those concerns are dealt with when they need to be.

For many years WPP has had the “Right to Speak” helpline, available to everyone across the Group, through which you can raise issues without fear of reprisal. This is an independently operated service that protects the identity of anyone who would rather not speak directly to their line manager or other senior people about their concerns. I encourage you to use it if you ever feel the need to report something on a confidential and anonymous basis. You can find the details for the helpline in each country on InsideWPP.

In addition, Andrew and I have committed to the Board that we will lead a review of how our policies and codes of conduct are put into practice at the parent company, and how we can make improvements. Our leadership teams will be doing this throughout the Group.

We all want WPP and its agencies to continue to be home to the world’s best talent, which means creating a positive, supportive and inclusive culture in every office. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do.

In the last eight weeks I have spent a lot of time with our agencies and clients, and there is tremendous positivity and confidence about the future of the business. Let’s stay focused on that, and continuing to build a company we are all proud of.

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