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Former Mindshare man Steve Simpson falls foul of WPP’s ‘zero tolerance’ for two-timing employees

Yet another one-time WPP employee, Steve Simpson, formerly CEO of GroupM’s Business Sciences division and an employee of Mindshare, has fallen foul of the marcoms giant’s insistence that departing employees play things by the book.

Not only that but Simpson (pictured) seems to have lost his new job at data-based consultant Marketshare EMEA Partners too.

Here are the gory details.
“This statement is made by Mr Steve Simpson following settlement of High Court proceedings commenced by Mindshare Media UK Limited (“Mindshare”) against Mr Steve Simpson. The terms of settlement are confidential but this statement is made as I wish to apologise unreservedly and publicly to Mindshare and WPP for my conduct in spring and summer 2011, leading up to and following my resignation from Mindshare to join Marketshare EMEA Partners Limited as Executive Vice President.

I acknowledge that I acted in breach of the duties I owed Mindshare and WPP. I should not have undertaken work for Marketshare EMEA Partners Limited whilst still a Mindshare employee and should not have acted against Mindshare’s interests. I accept that I placed myself in a position of conflict and now regret this. I am no longer employed by Marketshare EMEA Partners Limited.

I hope that with this settlement and apology I can now put this matter behind me.”

Presumably the bit about working for Marketshare while a Mindshare employee refers to his notice or ‘gardening leave’ period. WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell has operated a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards defecting employees for decades now. One of the most amusing (for some of us anyway) was his spat with headhunters Oystercatchers and some refugees from WPP’s brand consultancy Everystone last year. Agency of the moment Adam & Eve (John Lewis and all that) almost failed to get off the launch pad when Sorrell sued its founders successfully for almost £1m for chatting up prospective clients when they were at RKCR/Y&R.

It’s tough on Simpson to have lost his new job too though. But at least he’ll have more time to spend with his chopsticks (see picture).

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adam & eve apology data-based consultancy Everystone groupm business sciences ceo John Lewis legal action marketshare emea partners minshare oystercatchers Sir Martin Sorrell Steve Simpson

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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