Sir Martin Sorrell has hired a former WPP executive for his new venture S4 Capital in the ad veteran’s latest broadside against his old firm.
Scott Spirit, who was ousted by WPP just months after Sorrell’s abrupt departure last year, will join S4 Capital as chief growth officer and board member.
Spirit will focus on clients, mergers and acquisitions and investor relations, and will be based at the company’s newly-opened Singapore office.
S4 has also announced the appointment of Elizabeth Buchanan as non-executive director. Buchanan previously worked for what is now a WPP subsidiaries after selling her agency to STW Group, which was later bought by the holding group.
“I’m delighted to reunite with Scott and to welcome him and Elizabeth to the team,” Sorrell said in a statement.
S4 Capital has enjoyed a period of rapid expansion in its first year of trading, boosted by the acquisitions of Media Monks and Mightyhive.
The company, which focuses on digital marketing services, has outlined a three-year plan to double the firm’s revenue and gross profits compared to 2018, with ambitions to reach a market capitalisation of £1bn (£743m).
But the announcements, which come on the same day as WPP’s annual general meeting, are the latest sign of tensions between Sorrell and his old firm.
The ad boss has not been able to resist a series of potshots at WPP following his departure after 30 years at the helm amid unspecified allegations of misconduct. Sorrell has always denied any wrongdoing.
Last year WPP threatened to cut Sorrell’s long-term incentive payout, which could be worth up to £20m.
But the company capitaluated earlier this year and paid the former boss his first instalment of £2m in shares, prompting Sorrell to comment that they had “come to their senses”.
Meanwhile, WPP has been battling a tough period of trading as it carries out a three-year transformation plan.
Under new boss Mark Read the advertising stalwart has carried out a series of mergers and announced a string of job cuts as it looks to trim down its corporate structure amid growing competition in the market.