CEO
WPP

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Sir Martin Sorrell is Chief Executive of WPP, one of the world's largest communications services groups. An economics graduate of Cambridge University with an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration, Sir Martin began his career as a marketing associate with Glendinning Associates of Westport, Connecticut and founded WPP in 1985. The group employs 97,000 people in more than 2,000 offices in 106 countries.

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More information about chief executives and senior officials

Check out 25 videos about this career


£106,080
average salary
The UK average salary is £27,011
41
average weekly hours
There are 39 hours in the average working week
32%  female  68%  male
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Description

This unit group includes those who head large enterprises and organisations. They plan, direct and co-ordinate, with directors and managers, the resources necessary for the various functions and specialist activities of these enterprises and organisations. The chief executives of hospitals will be classified in this unit group. Senior officials in national government direct the operations of government departments. Senior officials in local government participate in the implementation of local government policies and ensure that legal, statutory and other provisions concerning the running of a local authority are observed. Senior officials of special interest organisations ensure that legal, statutory and other regulations concerning the running of trade associations, employers’ associations, learned societies, trades unions, charitable organisations and similar bodies are observed. Chief executives and senior officials also act as representatives of the organisations concerned for the purposes of high level consultation and negotiation.

Qualifications

Entry may be by appointment or internal promotion, as appropriate, and is usually based on relevant experience although candidates may also require academic qualifications for some posts.

Tasks

  • Analyses economic, social, legal and other data, and plans, formulates and directs at strategic level the operation of a company or organisation
  • Consults with subordinates to formulate, implement and review company/organisation policy, authorises funding for policy implementation programmes and institutes reporting, auditing and control systems
  • Prepares, or arranges for the preparation of, reports, budgets, forecasts or other information
  • Plans and controls the allocation of resources and the selection of senior staff
  • Evaluates government/local authority departmental activities, discusses problems with government/local authority officials and administrators and formulates departmental policy
  • Negotiates and monitors contracted out services provided to the local authority by the private sector
  • Studies and acts upon any legislation that may affect the local authority
  • Stimulates public interest by providing publicity, giving lectures and interviews and organising appeals for a variety of causes
  • Directs or undertakes the preparation, publication and dissemination of reports and other information of interest to members and other interested parties. analyses economic, social, legal and other data, and plans, formulates and directs at strategic level the operation of a company or organisation
  • Consults with subordinates to formulate, implement and review company/organisation policy, authorises funding for policy implementation programmes and institutes reporting, auditing and control systems
  • Prepares, or arranges for the preparation of, reports, budgets, forecasts or other information
  • Plans and controls the allocation of resources and the selection of senior staff
  • Evaluates government/local authority departmental activities, discusses problems with government/local authority officials and administrators and formulates departmental policy
  • Negotiates and monitors contracted out services provided to the local authority by the private sector
  • Studies and acts upon any legislation that may affect the local authority
  • Stimulates public interest by providing publicity, giving lectures and interviews and organising appeals for a variety of causes
  • Directs or undertakes the preparation, publication and dissemination of reports and other information of interest to members and other interested parties. analyses economic, social, legal and other data, and plans, formulates and directs at strategic level the operation of a company or organisation
  • Consults with subordinates to formulate, implement and review company/organisation policy, authorises funding for policy implementation programmes and institutes reporting, auditing and control systems
  • Prepares, or arranges for the preparation of, reports, budgets, forecasts or other information
  • Plans and controls the allocation of resources and the selection of senior staff
  • Evaluates government/local authority departmental activities, discusses problems with government/local authority officials and administrators and formulates departmental policy
  • Negotiates and monitors contracted out services provided to the local authority by the private sector
  • Studies and acts upon any legislation that may affect the local authority
  • Stimulates public interest by providing publicity, giving lectures and interviews and organising appeals for a variety of causes
  • Directs or undertakes the preparation, publication and dissemination of reports and other information of interest to members and other interested parties.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries
for this job
IndustryJobs
Retail trade8,764
Wholesale trade7,191
Specialised construction 3,737
Head offices, etc3,431
Public admin. & defence3,266
Auxiliary  services3,259
Health 3,153
Computer programming, etc2,825
Financial services2,418
Architectural & related2,244
Employment status

Where to go next

WPPSector Skills Council for Creative and Cultural skillsAn overview of information for creative and cultural industries

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Nazia H

Sir Martin Sorrell 0.00.02 Martin Sorrell, CO, WPP. WPP is a way of life and the best way of expressing that I found over the years is Bill Shankly, the famous Liverpool Manager, and he said football is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that. And WPP is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that. So everything about WPP is very personal cos you know you start it with two people in a room, you know, about the quarter of the size of this and, you know, you’re paranoid about going back to, you know, a room with two people. 00.00.33 So this is all very personal. I mean if we win a piece of business, you know, I take personal satisfaction. If we lose a piece of business I take umbrage. So it’s, you know, it is a matter of life and death as Shankly said. The man who was the Chairman of the Industrial Holding Company which my father’s retail company was a part, there’s a man called Charles Haywood and he said to me, “my boy, what do you want to do when you grow up?”. I said, “please sir, I want to go into business”. 00.01.01 So he said “well if you want to go into business, what you should do is to go to the Harvard Business School.” And when I graduated from Cambridge I got a place. And then, you know, I went from HBS to Glendenning Associates which was a marketing consultancy which we now own half of, or the non US part of. Then to Mark McCormack, you know, who is famous for having, at that time managing Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jane Nicholas, but you know sports management, people management. 00.01.29 And then I then met James Gulliver who was a food retailing entrepreneur who had general interest as well and one of his interests was in a stake in Saatchi’s or what became Saatchi’s, that’s how I got into the advertising industry, became their CFO for nine years. My father went to school in the East End of London in Stepney and went to school, had to leave school at 13, and then went into the radio and electrical business and was very successful as the Managing Director of a radio and electrical firm. 00.02.02 He sort of… I wouldn’t say my mother was a strong Jewish mother but she was a sort of very loving Jewish mother and, you know, my father sort of doted on me and I doted on him. He was very instrumental I think in sort of guiding me. But he was not an oh no, he was a Manager and I think the central sort of thrust of what I wanted to do, which you know, when I my attack of andropause in 1985 I had was to try and build my own business, or build our own business. 00.02.35 I thought it was my last chance or the last chance saloon to start something. So we started something from scratch when I was 40 in 1985 and we bought into a company called Wire and Plastic Products. And it was a small engineering company that made wire baskets for supermarkets, and pots and pans, which we still own but obviously it’s a now very, very small part of the business. 00.03.00 And today WPP is an advertising media investment management which is media planning and buying information insight consultancy which is really market research, public relations and public affairs, branding and identity, healthcare communications and directed digital interactive business. You’d have to go back to 1987 and, you know, WPP was about, worth about £150 million at the time. 00.03.33 And we made a bid for JWT of about $525 million, but JWT was 16 times our size. So I think, you know, when you say what was the sort of… I think that was a very important moment and the slough of despond or the slough of despond was 91/92 when we were having exceptional difficulties, we were over leveraged and we had a very tough time at that point in time, but came through it. 00.04.02 I mean I think the true test is when you have difficulties, you know, when everything’s going well, it’s fine. But when you… in the 1990s all you had to do was come into the office and stand up. It’s how you deal with the difficult things in life that are important.

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