Sorrell’s Legacy: He Built a Holding Company Giant…But Will It Last

“If you step back and look at what Martin Sorrell has built through determination, through intellect and through sheer force of personality, you have to give him a nod. You must,” says Michael Kassan, chairman and CEO of Medialink.

“He put our business on the map,” adds Jay Haines, founder of Grace Blue, an executive search firm that specializes in communications, advertising and media. Sorrell, he says, transformed the advertising and communications industry from a “glamorous but insignificant business to being a proper business in its own right.” Haines added that Sorrell’s departure will be a liberation of sorts for other senior leadership at WPP.

“Martin was such a forceful leader and everyone looked to him and everyone took his command — suddenly, he’s no longer there,” he says. He says this will open the door for big change within WPP. “It’s a release in some way. They’ve had such strong leadership that has dictated their path — what will happen when that is no longer [the case]? I hope the opportunity is taken for real reinvention.”

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