Management Today has voted Sir Martin Sorrell, who built advertising giant WPP from scratch, as Britain’s Most Admired Leader.
Sorrell, the longest serving CEO in the FTSE 100, is at home in the limelight. His self-confessed highlights have been his Desert Island Discs stint, and being interviewed at Davos by Channel 4.
Away from the media, his business success and acumen is unrivalled. At 67 years old, he can look back on 27 years at WPP – one of the world’s leading marketing-comms company, and can boast a hunger and competitive edge not one iota diminished from the early launch years of the business.
A self-confessed micro-manager, his passion for detail is central to his success.
“WPP is always a work in progress,” he tells MT. “I got up this morning and found out we’d won a piece of business, then I heard this afternoon that we’d lost one. Losing something still gets to me. Id I’d known earlier there was a problem I might have been able to make a difference.”
With 3000 offices in 110 countries, Sorrell wishes that he could visit every office each week. He believes he is not interfering but that it’s crucial for a business to have someone who can connect A to B, even internationally.
Since WPP’s birth, the company has survived three recessions, and Sorrell’s determination and unique longevity provide reassurance that his retirement is a long-way off and that the business will continue to benefit from his resolute ambition for the foreseeable future.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016