New Delhi: WPP Plc, the world’s largest communication services group, announced today the appointment of Mark Read as chief executive officer and executive director to the company’s board with immediate effect. He takes over the position from Martin Sorrell, who resigned from WPP in April, 33 years after founding the company, following allegations of personal misconduct and misuse of company assets.
Noting that the company’s board carried out a rigorous selection process, assessing internal and external candidates, WPP chairman Roberto Quarta said: “That process, alongside Mark’s wise and effective stewardship of the business in the last few months, left us with no doubt that he is the right leader for this company. He has played a central role in many of WPP’s most successful investments and initiatives, and he has deep experience at board and operational level."
Most recently, Read led the transformation of Wunderman into one of the top digital agencies, understanding the importance of culture in creating successful organizations.
“In short, he is in every way a 21st century CEO," Quarta added. Quarta has resumed his role as non-executive chairman on the appointment of Read as the new CEO.
“Our industry is going through a period of structural change, not structural decline, and if we embrace that change we can look ahead to an exciting and successful future. Our mission now is to release the full potential that exists within the company for the benefit of our clients, to accelerate our transformation and simplify our offering, and to position WPP for stronger growth. What makes our company special is its people, and I am very proud to have been given the chance to build a new WPP with them," said Read on his new role.
An old WPP hand, Read (51) has held multiple leadership positions across the company, including nine years as an executive director of WPP Plc. For 12 years, as head of strategy and then CEO of WPP Digital, he was responsible for the company’s digital development, including the acquisition of 24/7 Real Media, the creation of digital network Possible and the launch of global event WPP Stream.
In 2015, he was appointed global CEO of Wunderman, which has more than 10,000 people in 200 offices across 70 countries and clients, including Microsoft, Dell, Shell and Adidas. In April 2018 he was named joint chief operating officer of WPP.
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Earlier in his career, Read co-founded and developed internet startup WebRewards. He also specialized in the media and marketing industries as a principal at consultancy Booz Allen & Hamilton, having started his career at the WPP parent company working on corporate development.
Read has an MBA from INSEAD and an economics degree from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and was a Henry Fellow at Harvard University. He lives in London with his wife and two children.