WPP’s newly-consolidated VMLY&R has been dealt an early blow with the exit of its European chief executive Jon Sharpe, who has resigned amid an internal disciplinary process.
Sharpe was named as head of the merged creative shop just 10 weeks ago. However “concerns” were raised by employees and an investigation on his conduct was launched.
In a statement, VMLY&R said: “Jon Sharpe has resigned from VMLY&R during the course of a disciplinary process and while suspended from the company.
“Following reports received from employees a formal investigation was launched, using external counsel.”
The agency added it would not provide further information on the nature of the accusations, nor on whether complaints were made before or after the merger, in order to protect complainants.
"As a business we have procedures to ensure people can speak up in confidence, and to protect the anonymity of those who raise concerns we will not provide further details," a spokesperson said.
Sharpe denies the accusations. "I have resigned from VMLY&R to pursue new opportunities," he said in a statement. "I strenuously deny the reports received and have vigorously defended myself against them. I will be making no further comment at this time."
Sharpe was hired as chief executive of VML Europe in October 2017, having previously overseen RKCR/Y&R’s rebrand to Y&R as CEO of the London shop. He previously held the role of chief digital officer at the M&C Saatchi after selling his early digital agency, Play, to the group.