Will former JWT boss Gustavo Martinez follow Martin Sorrell to S4 Capital?

Finally, Gustavo Martinez has been ousted from WPP.

The former global CEO of JWT, who in 2016 was accused of rape jokes and racial slurs by his own chief communications officer, will now be pursuing his career outside the group, Campaign has discovered.

WPP’s failure to get rid of Martinez meant he was hanging around like a bad smell.

Martin Sorrell seemed attached to Martinez, who resigned from his New York-based JWT post following Erin Johnson’s lawsuit against him, but reappeared in Spain working on WPP assignments there.

Perhaps then, Martinez has found a new home with his old boss and long-time supporter, whose new venture, S4 capital, launched only a week ago.

In parting with Martinez, WPP acting joint CEOs Mark Read and Andrew Scott have made a timely break with the Sorrell era ahead of what will inevitably be a tricky WPP AGM next week.

Martinez’ departure leaves one less thing for shareholders to grumble about at the meeting, but there is still plenty to discuss: why is the board – led by chairman Roberto Quarta – still covering up the reasons for Sorrell’s departure? Why has it not finalised succession plans? Why did Sorrell not have a non-compete clause? What are the plans for the future structure of the world’s largest communications group?

Johnson resigned as part of what was billed as an “amicable settlement” with Martinez in April, marking an unsatisfactory end to the story of a brave woman who stood up to the bullying culture well before Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.
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