WPP Stresses Codes of Conduct After Sorrell Behavior Reports

(Bloomberg) -- WPP Plc will review how its codes of conduct are put into practice following reports that former Chief Executive Officer Martin Sorrell mistreated employees at the world’s largest advertising company.

“When I come to work I expect to be treated with respect by my colleagues,” interim co-Chief Operating Officer Mark Read wrote in a company-wide memo announcing the review. “All WPP working environments must be places where people feel safe and supported.”

The measure follows a Financial Times report this week that Sorrell, who resigned in April from the company he led for three decades, used to mistreat his assistants. Sorrell declined to comment to the FT, and has previously denied bullying or abusing his staff. WPP holds its annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, where investors are likely to question the handling of Sorrell’s departure.

Sorrell was ousted from the advertising group following a probe into alleged personal misconduct and misuse of company assets. He has denied any wrongdoing.

WPP has an independent helpline for employees to raise issues in the company, and there were 106 calls made in 2017, according to WPP’s annual report. WPP has more than 200,000 employees globally.

“We all want WPP and its agencies to continue to be home to the world’s best talent, which means creating a positive, supportive and inclusive culture in every office,” Read wrote.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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