You don’t, as we’ve observed before, mess with WPP as Spot Runner founders Nick Grouf and David Waxman are finding out, for the second time.
WPP invested $10m in US local ads digital company Spot Runner back in 2006 but the company proved much better at losing money than making it and WPP objected to the two founders selling $4m of shares without letting on.
It sued and, although a court found in the duo’s favour, WPP appealed and is now suing them (rather than the company as it did in the first case) all over again.
Separately WPP’s The Brand Union and WPP itself have published the details of a personal apology by former TBU and Everystone boss Chrispin Jameson (pictured) who was foolish enough to try to take some business with him to his new venture The Great Game.
This follows a similar grovel by agency marriage brokers Oystercatchers who became embroiled in the affair.
Jameson’s particular brand of sackcloth and ashes runs as follows:
I wish to apologise unreservedly and publicly to Everystone, The Brand Union and WPP for my recent conduct. Whilst holding a senior position working for Everystone and The Brand Union, I set up a venture known as The Great Game. Using resources and property belonging to my employers, I began actively trading The Great Game as a business. I acknowledge that The Great Game is the exclusive property of WPP and that I wrongly sought to profit from it at their expense. It was entirely inappropriate for me to behave in the way I did and I thoroughly regret my conduct.
I accept that my actions amount to a flagrant breach of my duties to Everystone and The Brand Union. As a senior employee, I was under a clear duty to act in good faith and by deceiving my employers for my own material gain, and encouraging others under my control to do likewise, I fundamentally breached those duties. I will always regret what I did.
I knew at the time what I was doing was wrong and damaging to my employers’ business interests. I also knew that I was not entitled to profit from my own wrongdoing. I now deeply regret my entirely inappropriate actions.
Everystone and The Brand Union were entirely justified in issuing legal proceedings against me to recover sums of money and property which were lawfully theirs. Everystone and The Brand Union have been put to unavoidable and material cost in investigating, pursuing and seeking to remedy a situation created by me for which I have absolutely no adequate justification or defence.
I have now reached a settlement with Everystone and The Brand Union. The terms of that settlement are confidential but I fully acknowledge that WPP and Everystone are entitled to protect their business interests.
Does this mean that The Great Game is now a WPP company?
Anyway WPP and its CEO Sir Martin Sorrell have made their point again, namely that WPP business is its own and unfaithful employees tamper with it at their own (high) risk.