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Twenty-pound-notes.jpg This article is part of the Lobbying Portal, a sunlight project from Spinwatch.

WPP is one of the big three marketing and communications conglomerates along with Interpublic and Omnicom. In 2011 WPP employ over 146,000 people (including associates) operating out of almost 2,400 offices in 107 countries. [1] The scale and revenue of the company have grown dramatically since 2001.

WPP's 2001 revenues were $5791m: Advertising accounted for 46%; specialist communications, 27%; info and consultancy, 15%; and public relations and affairs, 12.3%. Including associates, the Group had over 65,000 full-time people in over 1,400 offices in 103 countries at the end of 2001. In 2001 WPP worked for over 300 of the Fortune Global 500 companies and over half of the Nasdaq 100. WPP serviced 330 national or multi-national clients in three or more disciplines and over 150 clients in four disciplines. Globally, WPP worked with over 100 clients in six or more countries (WPP, 2001, p. 2).

By 2010 the firm's estimated revenues were £11.6 billion. [2]

The global WPP group encompasses the J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather, Tempus, Grey Global and Young & Rubicam advertising agencies. The conglomerate also includes public relations, lobbying, media planning and buying, marketing and research services through Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller, MindShare and The Kantar Group.

Evolution of the group

WPP czar Martin Sorrell was the 'third brother' acting as finance director at Saatchi & Saatchi (now part of Publicis) from 1975 to 1986 before acquiring UK shopping cart manufacturer Wire & Plastic Products (WPP). He used WPP as a vehicle for acquiring 'below-the-line' advertising-related businesses.

In 1987 he made a successful US$566m hostile bid for the venerable J. Walter Thompson. Two years later he expanded the group through the US$825m purchase of the equally prestigious Ogilvy & Mather, despite opposition from ad icon David Ogilvy (1911-1999).

In 2003 WPP successfully bid for the ailing Cordiant group, acquired for a mere US$17 million (plus assumption of debts). It acquired Grey Global in 2004 with cash and shares worth just over US$1.3bn (£720m). As of 2000 Grey had sales of US$1,247 million and earnings of US$19 million.Source [1]


  • Philip Lader Non-executive chairman
  • Sir Martin Sorrell Chief executive. Martin Sorrell joined WPP in 1986 as a director, becoming Group chief executive in the same year. e-mail: msorrell@wpp.com
  • Paul Richardson Executive director and Director of Finance
  • Mark Read Executive Director and Strategy Director
  • Colin Day, Non-Executive Director and Member of the Audit Committee and Compensation Committee
  • Esther Dyson, Non-Executive Director and Member of the Compensation Committee and Nomination Committee
  • Orit Gadiesh, Non-executive Director and Member of the Nomination Committee
  • Ruigang Li, Non-Executive Director
  • Stanley (Bud) Morten, Senior independent director (until April 2010)
  • Koichiro Naganuma, Non-Executive Director
  • Lubna Olayan, Non-Executive Director and Member of the Nomination Committee
  • John Quelch, Non-Executive Director
  • Jeffrey Rosen, Non-Executive Director, Chairman of the Compensation Committee and Member of the Audit Committee Senior independent director (from April 2010)
  • Timothy Shriver, Non-Executive Director and Member of the Compensation Committee
  • Paul Spencer, Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee
  • Sol Trujillo, Non-Executive Director and Member of the Audit Committee

Former Directors

Subsidiaries as of April 2010

Advertising ADK (Associate) | Bates 141 | Brand Buzz (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | CHI & Partners (Associate) | Dentsu Y&R A Young & Rubicam Brands company and Joint venture) | Grey | HS Ad | JWT | Ogilvy and Mather | Santo | Scangroup (Associate)| Soho Square | Tapsa]] | TAXI (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Team Detroit | The Jupiter Drawing Room and Partners | United Network | Y and R (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) Media Investment Management GroupM Maxus | MediaCom | MEC | Mindshare | Outrider | Catalyst Other media agencies KR Media (Associate) | tenthavenue | Kinetic Worldwide | Quisma | Spafax Consumer Insight Kantar | Added Value | Center Partners | IMRB International | Kantar Health | Kantar Japan | Kantar Media | Kantar Operations | Kantar Retail | Kantar Worldpanel | Lightspeed Research | Millward Brown | The Futures Company | TNS Other marketing consultancies Everystone (A Brand Union Company) | ohal Public Relations & Public Affairs Blanc & Otus (A Hill and Knowlton Company | Buchanan Communications | Burson-Marsteller (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Chime Communications PLC (Associate) | Clarion Communications | Cohn and Wolfe (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Dewey Square Group | Finsbury | Hill and Knowlton | Ogilvy Government Relations | Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide | The PBN Company (Associate) | Penn Schoen Berland (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Prime Policy Group | Public Strategies (A Hill and Knowlton Company) | Quinn Gillespie | Robinson Lerer & Montgomery (A Young & Rubicam Brands company)| Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates (A Hill and Knowlton Company) Branding & Identity Addison Corporate Marketing (A member of B to D Group) | BDGMcColl | BDGworkfutures | Coley Porter Bell | Dovetail | FITCH (A member of B to D Group) | Lambie-Nairn (A member of B to D Group) | Landor Associates (A member of B to D Group and A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | PeclersParis (A member of B to D Group) | The Brand Union (A member of B to D Group) | The Partners (A member of B to D Group) | VBAT (A member of B to D Group) Healthcare Communications Feinstein Kean Healthcare (An Ogilvy Company) | GCI Health | ghg | Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide | Sudler and Hennessey (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) Direct, Digital, Promotion & Relationship Marketing A. Eicoff & Co | Actis Systems (Part of the Wunderman network) | AGENDA (Part of the Wunderman network) | [Aqua Online]] (Part of the Wunderman network) | Blast Radius (Part of the Wunderman network) | Brierley and Partners (Associate) | Designkitchen (Part of the Wunderman network) | Dialogue 141 | Digit | EWA | FullSIX | Grassroots (Associate) | G2 | Headcount Worldwide Field Marketing | High Co (Associate) | Kassius (Part of the Wunderman network) | KMB Group (Part of the Wunderman network) | Mando | Maxx Marketing | OgilvyAction | OgilvyOne Worldwide | OgilvyAction Sports and Entertainment Marketing | OOT | RTCM]] (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Smollan Group (Associate) | Studiocom (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | These Days (Part of the Wunderman network) | Vice Media (Investment) | VML (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Wunderman (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | ZAAZ (Part of the Wunderman network) Specialist Communications Corporate/B2B, Ogilvy Primary Contact | Custom Media, Forward | Demographic Marketing, The Bravo Group (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Kang and Lee (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Mosaica MD | UniWorld | WING (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Employer branding/recruitment, JWT Inside | Event/face-to-face marketing, MJM | Metro | Foodservice Marketing, The Food Group | Sports Marketing, PRISM Group | Entertainment Marketing Alliance | Youth marketing, The Geppetto Group | Real Estate marketing Pace | Technology Marketing, Banner Corporation (A Young & Rubicam Brands company) | Media & Production Services, The Farm Group | Hogarth Worldwide (Joint Venture) | Imagina (Investment) | MRC (Investment) | The Weinstein Company (Investment) | WPP Digital 24/7 Real Media | Blue State Digital | Deliver | Fabric Worldwide (Investmetn) | iconmobile (Associate) | Johannes Leonardo (Investment) | Possible Worldwide | Syzygy (Associate)| The Media Innovation Group | True Worldwide (Investment) WPP Digital partner companies Ace Metrix (Investment) | Buddy Media (Investment) | eCommera (Investment) | HDT Holdings Technology (Investment) | In Game Ad Interactive (Investment) | Invidi (Investment) | Jumptap (Investment) | LiveWorld (Investment) | Moment Systems (Investment) | Proclivity (Investment) | Sat Media (Investment) | Visible Technologies (Associate) | Visible World (Investment) | Wild Tangent (Investment) | Yield Software (Investment) WPP Knowledge Community The Store [4]

In 2008, WPP was listed as a member of the American Benefits Council[5]

Further reading

  • David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising (New York: Crown 1983),
  • David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man (New York: Atheneum 1963)
  • David Ogilvy, Blood, Brains & Beer: the Autobiography of David Ogilvy (New York: Wiley 1997)
  • Richard Morgan, J Walter Takeover: From Divine Right to Common Stock (Homewood: Dow Jones-Irwin 1991).
  • Lester Wunderman, Being Direct (New York: Random 1996).
  • Karen Miller, The Voice of Business: Hill & Knowlton and postwar public relations (Chapel Hill: Uni of North Carolina Press 1998)
  • Susan Trento, Power House: Robert Keith Gray & the selling of access and influence in Washington (New York: St Martins 1992).

External links

Sharon Beder and Richard Gosden 'WPP: World Propaganda Power' PR Watch, Volume 8, No. 2


  1. WPP, Annual Report 2010 accessed 12th December 2011
  2. WPP, Letter to Share Owners accessed 12th December 2011
  3. WPP, Members of the Board of Directors April 2010, accessed 12th December 2011
  4. WPP, Annual Report 2010 accessed 12th December 2011
  5. American Benefits Council Memberships Accessed 26th February 2008