WPP Group ceo Sir Martin Sorrell, ever the archetypal accountant, is not about to abandon the caution that has marked his career to date.

Talking to German weekend newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Sorrell remained guarded on the prospects for an advertising upturn in 2003. Reluctantly conceding that this year could be better than last, he opined: “At the moment, there is little cause for hope. The impulse for a breakthrough will only come in 2004.”

The factors on which Sorrell bases this forecast are the US presidential election and the Olympic Games in Athens – both of which take place next year. He is seemingly not factoring-in such major pitfalls as the almost certain war on Iraq and the less certain (but far more economically dangerous) possibility of hostilities against North Korea.

Sorrell also told the newspaper that WPP is not currently in negotiation to buy part or all of the highly regarded German ad shop Scholz & Friends in Hamburg –a unit of ailing Cordiant Communications. He did, however, admit to an interest.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff