NEW YORK: Sir Martin Sorrell, the former CEO of WPP Group, plans to “start again”, having recently been “extracted” from his leadership role at the agency holding company.

Sorrell, who departed WPP last month following allegations of financial misconduct, discussed his future intentions during a session at the 2018 Techonomy NYC conference.

“I’m going to start again,” he said. “I am not going to write a book. I am not going to go into voluntary or involuntary retirement.” (For more, read WARC's in-depth report: Sir Martin Sorrell pledges to "start again" after WPP departure.)

While Sorrell was coy regarding his specific plans, leaving WPP, he asserted, has provided him with a refreshed view on the advertising industry’s prospects.

“Coming out of being extracted from WPP, I think I can see much more clearly where there are the growth pieces, and where they are the more challenged pieces,” he said.

“And I don’t want to say that the traditional advertising business is not capable of reinvention. It is capable of reinvention – and it will be reinvented.”

Holding groups like WPP, he suggested, can essentially be divided into “legacy” components and “new wave parts” active in areas including technology, data and content.

“Everybody who runs what people call ‘holding companies’ understand this; they’re not silly about this. They understand they have to reinvent,” Sorrell said.

Clients such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble, the consumer packaged goods giants, are placing similar emphasis on this objective, he further ventured.

But despite the very real headwinds facing the agency business, and his own sudden departure from the corporation he has led since 1985, Sorrell was unabashed in his enthusiasm for the sector.

“Over the years since then that we’ve operated in the industry, I found it an extremely attractive industry to continue to pursue a career in,” he said.

“It’s something that I enjoy. The people I find engaging. Sometimes they can be difficult. In fact, the better the people, the more difficult they are.”

Sourced from WARC