Sorrell gets the grumps as UK gears for another Brexit bout

WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell (below) struck a rather grumpy note on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, describing MP Theresa May’s decision to call a snap General Election in June “another excuse to do nothing” although he admitted that a win for May might lead to more sensible Brexit negotiations.

He also pooh-poohed supposed plans to cap executive salaries, as you would when you’ve just “earned” £50m, down from £70m in 2015. It would drive talent to private equity, he averred. But someone’s got to try to put a stop to the rise of the robber barons surely? Otherwise the rest of us will become ever more like serfs.

Sorrell reckons the strengthening of the GBP and consequent stock market fall (most big FTSE companies including WPP earn most of their money outside the UK so profits are boosted as other currencies rise against the pound) shows the markets think a so-called “soft Brexit” is more likely after the upcoming election.

They may be right but a rising pound doesn’t do anything for WPP’s profits (only ten per cent of its business is in the UK). Sorrell is under pressure at the moment as WPP’s growth appears to have slowed, partly in line with the global economy, partly because, as the world’s biggest marcoms company and one that’s particularly big in media, is finds itself in the line of fire from big advertisers trying to cut budgets and concerned about media “transparency,” particularly in programmatic media buying.

Sufficient cause then to strike a grumpy note.

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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.

One comment

  1. Poor bugger doesn’t know where his next hundred million quid is coming from. Thank God for the Cayman Islands.