Thursday 29 April 2021 4:22 pm

Martin Sorrell blasts ‘petty’ WPP after share awards cut over leak claims

Sir Martin Sorrell has become embroiled in a bitter row with WPP after his former company cut his share awards over accusations he leaked confidential information to the media.

In its annual report published today, the advertising behemoth said the five-year payout for 2016 and 2017 awarded to Sorrell would lapse.

Read more: Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital continues growth as profit jumps

The FTSE 100 group said the decision was a result of Sorrell’s “disclosure of confidential information belonging to WPP and certain of its clients to the media during his tenure as a WPP director”.

Sorrell described the decision as “just another case of peanut envy” and a “petty move”.

“It’s a bit rich that they’re accusing me of leaks, given their own over the last three years,” he said in a statement given to City A.M.

“They’ve had to go back several years to try and find an excuse to deny me what’s mine. I’ve left it to my lawyers to deal with. It seems like blind rage is driving them, not peanut or even coconut envy.”

Sorrell founded WPP in 1985 and transformed it from a wire baskets manufacturer into the world’s largest advertising company.

But he left the firm in 2018 following accusations of personal misconduct, which he has always denied.

Read more: WPP returns to revenue growth as UK ad market bounces back

Since his acrimonious departure the tycoon, who was paid £70m in 2015 and still holds shares in WPP, has frequently hit out at his former employer.

Sorrell now runs S4 Capital, a London-listed digital advertising firm which now has a market value of £3bn.