WPP reports 3.4% revenue drop at first AGM without Sorrell

WPP agencies face revenue slump

Holding company WPP, which is today conducting its first AGM since the departure of longstanding chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, has announced that its global revenue for the first four months of the year was down 3.4% year-on-year to £4.822bn.

Constant currency revenue was up 2.7% and like-for-like revenue was up 1.4%. Net sales (now reported as revenue less pass-through costs) were down 5.0% to £3.969bn for the year.

Growth was reported in Western Continental Europe, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe as well as Asia Pacific. North America, meanwhile, was noted as a “difficult” market, especially in the “advertising and data investment management businesses”. In North America, WPP's like-for-like revenue minus pass-through costs were down by 2.4%, making it the weakest performing region.

In its home market, the UK, like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs were up by 0.8%. It also announced growth in all of its sectors except data investment management. WPP predicted a “slightly stronger” second half of the year across the whole business.

The announcement comes as the network moves to handle Sorrell's abrupt and controversial departure from his leading role. Just yesterday, interim WPP boss Mark Read circulated an email to all staff reminding them of company values following extensive press coverage concerning Sorrell.

Read, who was named joint chief operating officer at WPP following Sorrell's exit and is in the running to be the next chief executive, 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."

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