New WPP chair Roberto Quarta quits top jobs at IMI and Stockwell

Tim Wallace
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Roberto Quarta has three other top jobs
Incoming WPP chairman Roberto Quarta is leaving a second senior position before he takes up the role in June.

Quarta has agreed to step down as chairman of industrial group IMI as soon as a successor is found.

And City A.M. understands he is also leaving Stockwell, where he acted as an adviser to the firm’s founders from its establishment in 2010. WPP counts two financial PR agencies among the firms in its group, Finsbury and Buchanan.

The advisory panel at Stockwell is being wound down over the coming months. Other panel members include Miranda Curtis, a non-executive director at Liberty Global; Keith Satchell, chairman of Rothesay Life.

Despite leaving those roles, Quarta will still hold a portfolio of other senior positions.

He is continuing as chairman of FTSE-100 medical technology business Smith & Nephew, and will retain his position as partner at private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Quarta is also a non-executive director at Spie SA.

Some analysts have concerns over Quarta’s ability to give sufficient challenge to the very dominant chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell.

One analyst, who asked not to be named, said: “Quarta doesn’t necessarily exert a great deal of influence at IMI. If you’re Martin Sorrell, I would suggest you want to appoint a weak chairman.”

But others argued Sorrell has built WPP himself and has proved to be a good boss, so he may not require a great deal of challenge.

Quarta’s “experience and background complement and will help develop WPP’s strategy in new markets, in new media, in data investment management and the application of technology and horizontality,” said Sorrell.

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