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WPP and former directors of digital agency Yolk embroiled in Supreme Court legal battle

Senior executives from Grey Group are being quizzed in the Singapore Supreme Court over the next three days as part of a legal battle between WPP and the now defunct digital agency Yolk.

Grey Group APAC chief executive Nirvik Singh

Four minority shareholders of Yolk, which was was acquired by WPP in late 2010, are suing WPP for alleged “oppressive acts” carried out by senior executives at Grey Group APAC.

They claim their actions led to Yolk folding.

Grey Group APAC chief executive Nirvik Singh appeared in court earlier this week with chief financial officer Ali Belgaumi following Singh into the dock today and tomorrow. WPP’s former chief strategy officer Scott Spirit is due to answer questions tomorrow afternoon.

Benjamin Tan

WPP is understood to have started legal action against former Yolk chief executive Benjamin Tan, chief technology officer Adrian Lee and five other former employers after they lodged an internal complaint to WPP in August 2016 about the “minority oppressive acts” of Singh and Belgaumi.

They allege Grey’s senior management drove Yolk into the ground by “retrenching its original employees, transferring all remaining employees and client to Grey Group Singapore”.

WPP alleges Yolk staff violated non-compete clauses and “conspired to injure Yolk” by setting up competing businesses.

Grey Group declined to comment on the case.

WPP has also been approached for comment.

Tan was managing partner at Yolk from late 2007 to March 11 after he was chief executive of Grey Digital Singapore and South east Asia chief digital officer Grey Group.

He left the company in July 2016.

Grey dropped the name Yolk in October 2014 and became known as Grey Digital to “create tighter brand integration with Grey Group”.

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