It's official: Mark Read, long tipped as successor to WPP's Martin Sorrell, is now CEO of the industry's largest advertising holding company. He will also serve as an executive director on the company's board. The appointment is effective immediately.
In a statement issued this morning, WPP Chairman Roberto Quarta said the board had gone through a rigorous selection process to land on Read.
"That process, alongside Mark's wise and effective stewardship of the business in the last few months, left us with no doubt that he is the right leader for this company, and we are delighted to announce the Board's unanimous decision to appoint him as Chief Executive Officer of WPP," Quarta said in the statement.
With the move, Read will oversee 130,000 people working with clients in 112 countries.
"Recognized for his leadership throughout the industry, he has an intimate understanding of the business, he enjoys very strong internal support, and he has earned the respect and endorsement of our clients with his constant focus on their needs," the statement continued.
Quarta also noted in the announcent that Read had played a role in WPP's most successful investments and initiatives and had "led the transformation of Wunderman into one of the world's top digital agencies."
"In short, he is in every way a 21st -century CEO," Quarta added.
"Our industry is going through a period of structural change, not structural decline, and if we embrace that change we can look ahead to an exciting and successful future," Read said in the statement. "Our mission now is to release the full potential that exists within the company for the benefit of our clients, to accelerate our transformation and simplify our offering, and to position WPP for stronger growth."
Andrew Scott, who with Read had been named co-chief operating officer as WPP sought its new CEO, will continue in the role of chief operating officer on a permanent basis. Quarta has resumed his role as non-executive chairman.
According to WPP, Read will have an annual salary of £975,000, with an annual bonus of up to 250% of salary with mandatory deferral of at least 40% of bonus into shares deferred for a two-year period, "in accordance with the compensation policy" set out in the company's 2016 annual report.