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S4 Capital’s Sir Martin Sorrell in alleged altercation with Superunion CEO Jim Prior

S4 Capital executive chairman Sir Martin Sorrell was allegedly involved in a confrontation with Superunion global CEO Jim Prior, according to a report in The Financial Times. The report indicated that Sorrell was incensed by remarks made by Prior in an interview with Campaign, and confronted him at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

Superunion’s Jim Prior

The FT report quoted eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen a physical altercation between the two.

In a statement from S4 Capital sent to Mumbrella, Sir Martin Sorrell said: “Jim Prior approached me and in a very short encounter I took him to task for his comment that ‘S4 was a speck in the rearview mirror’, adding that when you’re in a car crash the speck catches up very fast.

“He protested he had been misquoted before I walked off. I did not slap him and there were no injuries or complaints on either side. This seems to be the latest attempt by WPP to undermine what we’re building at S4Capital with a playbook that includes leaking data and using anonymous sources.”

A spokesperson for WPP said: “There is no official statement from WPP.” The spokesperson confirmed that WPP’s lawyers wrote to Sorrell’s lawyers to complain but could not comment any further.

Ever since his ouster from WPP, which Sorrell has described as being “electrocuted“, he has expressed misgivings about his former firm in particular and giant advertising holding companies.

In a Q&A session at Mumbrella360 Asia in Singapore after his presentation, WPP global chief marketing and growth officer Laurent Ezekiel was asked by Mumbrella’s Dean Carroll about the barbs that came the holding company’s way from its former CEO. Ezekiel opted for a very diplomatic answer and said: “I have just made a presentation about the about the future and I’ve also said that this industry has an exponential ability to change for clients. Next year will very much be the year of value that our industry brings to its clients.

“To answer the question, WPP has never been more relevant in helping clients navigate. We are just going to focus on the future and not on the past.”

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