Sir Martin Sorrell has “strenuously” denied allegations that he paid a sex worker with the ad network’s finances.
The claim was made in a report by The Wall Street Journal on Saturday, which focused on WPP’s investigation of alleged financial misconduct by Sorrell. The report cited "people familiar with the matter" as saying the investigation focused on use of company funds to pay a sex worker.
Sorrell stepped down as WPP chairman just a few days after word of an investigation into inappropriate behaviour first surfaced in April, and further details of the investigation have not been disclosed.
In a widely reported statement, Sorrell’s spokesperson said: “Sir Martin signed a non-disclosure agreement when he stepped down, which precludes him from discussing any of the circumstances surrounding his departure. He has rigidly adhered to this obligation and will continue to do so.
"As regards the allegations which have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Sir Martin strenuously denies them. He will be making no further comment at this time."
A WPP spokesperson said: “WPP has been advised that it cannot disclose details of the allegations against Sir Martin Sorrell because it is prohibited by data-protection law from giving such details. Sir Martin chose to resign at the conclusion of the investigation by independent legal counsel.”
The allegation comes ahead of WPP’s first annual general meeting following Sorrell’s departure. That meeting already looks set to be a controversial one as WPP investors have raised questions about the manner in which Sorrell left, and his treatment as a “good leaver”, allowing him to maintain his long-term share awards worth around US$27 million.