Martin Sorrell takes further shot at WPP after resignation of Chinese director Hugo Shong

Martin Sorrell has again stirred the pot with his former employers after questioning the departure of WPP China non-executive director Hugo Shong.

Hugo Shong: Sorrell described his exit as ‘not good news’


Sorrell told UK’s Sky News he was “saddened and disturbed” at the resignation of Shong, who he described as a “significant factor” in the growth of the ad giant’s China operation.

His comments will further rile WPP and will do nothing to heal what has become an ill-tempered spat between the parties.

“As a shareowner, I’m very saddened and disturbed by the departure of Hugo Shong from the WPP board, particularly at a time when WPP is trying to develop and reposition its business in China,” Sorrell said.

“Along with Ruigang-Li, over the last six years, he has been a significant factor in the growth and development of WPP’s China business in what is now its third largest market. It is not good news.”

Shong resigned this week having served on the WPP board since 2013.

WPP said he quit because of his “additional commitments outside WPP and increased pressure on his time and availability”.

In response to Sorrell’s remarks, WPP said in a statement: “While the board was sorry that Hugo felt he could no longer serve as a director with the increased pressure on his time and availability, it is pleased that he will continue to assist WPP’s businesses in China going forward, and WPP’s board is also privileged to have Ruigang Li amongst its non-executive talent.”

Privately, WPP management will be seething at Sorrell’s comments.

In addition to his acrimonious exit from WPP, the ad veteran and holding group have swapped increasingly tetchy remarks over Sorrell’s acquisition of Dutch digital agency MediaMonks. WPP had also bid for the company.

WPP claimed its former boss breached confidentiality clauses – branding his actions “unlawful” – and has threatened to withhold invested share options.

Sorrell has denied any wrongdoing.


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