We occasionally refer to ‘WPP Towers,’ meaning its modest HQ in posh Mayfair’s Farm Street. That houses CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and WPP apparatchiks, not operating companies. In London the phrase ‘Omnicon Towers’ is more appropriate as the WPP rival iis in the process of moving 5000 or so people from its agencies, media agencies and other companies into a vast new HQ on London’s South Bank.
But there really is going to be a WPP Tower, only this one is in Shanghai.
WPP has struck a deal to lease 41,000 square metres on 20 floors at 399 Heng Feng Road, Shanghai, one of the biggest deals in the city’s commercial district. It will house 26 companies in all, including WPP’s big agencies and media agencies. Hope my pal Graham Fink, CCO of Ogilvy China, gets a suitably vast office.
WPP companies and its partners in China generate revenue of $1.5 billion and employ 15,000 people. No idea if this lot will fit into the new HQ, however vast it seems.
CEO Sorrell says: “China is now WPP’s third largest market, and our commitment to China is deeper than ever. We are proud to support the development of the city of Shanghai and provide our people with the best facilities. One of WPP’s key objectives is horizontality – promoting cooperation across our group companies to improve outcomes for our clients – and bringing our people in Shanghai into this location is an important step towards this goal.”
Martin never misses an opportunity to remind us of his latest strategy and ‘horizontality’ is it. Reminds me of that old joke on the lines of “If you laid all the secretaries at J. Walter Thompson end to end in Berkeley Square..” But such sexist nonsense is, thankfully, a thing of the past. And JWT is now on Knightsbridge Green, where there isn’t room anyway (and no green).