Atifa Silk Rick Boost
Apr 17, 2018

Sorrell: Creating change is easier in hard times

Just weeks before resigning, Sir Martin Sorrell sizes up the challenges posed by consultancies, tech platforms and the need for change in the final part of his Campaign interview.

"In these particular conditions it's probably easier to get change [made]. People understand it more," said WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell told Campaign Asia-Pacific brand director Atifa Silk just weeks before his hasty departure from the firm.

"When things are tough you sort of create burning platforms," Sorrell said, necessitating coordinated action. In contrast changing practices in good times can be harder, he noted, since solid sales growth "can cover a multitude of sins."

In the third part of his interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific, Sorrell sized up recent changes and challenges in the industry including consultancies and online platforms. The consultancies, he argued have not yet gone head-to-head with agencies on digital but were good at selling cost-savings to the brands C-suites. "Of course they would recommend their own cooking," he quipped. The new media platforms like Google, Facebook, Tencent and Alibaba, on the other hand, Sorrell credited with helping to make the industry more exciting for young people.

The man who built a multi-billion dollar marketing communications giant will now leave future challenges to his successor at WPP, one that will be made all the more difficult by rising shareholder pressures.  

While we continue to watch how these latest developments unfold, here is part three of our in-depth chat with Sorrell in the days immediately before he become the target of an in-house investigation for an undisclosed allegation of personal misconduct

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