10 Things You Didn’t Know about WPP CEO Martin Sorrell

If you’re interested in business, or even if you merely invest in various stocks and bonds, you might have already heard of Martin Sorrell. If you haven’t, it’s important to know that he’s easily one of the most influential business professionals in the world today. The truth is, he’s been extremely influential throughout the majority of his long career, which began in the 1970s. Below are 10 things you probably don’t know about him.

1. He’s been knighted

As a citizen of England, it’s not terribly uncommon to be knighted but it doesn’t happen all that often, either. The truth is, this is an honor that is saved for individuals that have truly accomplished something special. It also attests to their own personal character. This is something to take great pride in and by all accounts, he does exactly that.

2. His family is Jewish

It seems like a lot of people are surprised when they learn that he was raised by Jewish parents. It’s hard to understand why there is so much surprise at this fact unless it’s because he was born and raised in the United Kingdom. Maybe people just don’t stop and think about the fact that Jewish people choose to live all over the globe. Maybe that has nothing to do with it whatsoever. It’s just amazing that so many people seem surprised when they discover that he has a Jewish background. With that being said, this is probably at least partly responsible for why he is so good in business, as he has been taught how to handle that side of things from an early age.

3. He has a rich family history

Although he was born in London, his family has a rich history that comes from many different places around the globe. As such, he has family in Romania, Poland and Russia, just to name a few. As you can see, this is an individual that has a lot to be proud of when it comes to his family legacy.

4. He went to college in the United States

The previous statement might be somewhat misleading, if that were the only statement you were to read. He actually has gone to college in both the United Kingdom and the United States, attending college first in the U.K. and then transferring to the U.S. in order to achieve his MBA from Harvard.

5. He’s known for the “earn-out”

Unless you’re involved in business practices, you might not even know what this is. That’s because it is a term that is largely confined to corporate business. It’s also something that he became well known for, as he has basically perfected the practice of carrying this out. If you’re still wondering what it all means, it involves a practice that is used in Mergers and Acquisitions. In this practice, the company that is being purchased has to earn the sale of another company by meeting certain benchmarks when it comes to their own business performance. It’s a way of ensuring that a business that purchases another doesn’t end up with a lame duck that they can’t get rid of.

6. His company manufactures shopping carts

He’s the Chief Executive Officer of a company based in the United Kingdom called WPP. That stands for Wire and Plastic Products, a company that manufactures shopping carts out of metal. Sorrell has made a tremendous amount of money over the years by marketing this company and creating something of a monopoly when it comes to that particular niche.

7. He’s no stranger to hostile takeovers

The hostile takeover is something that happens in large corporate business practices from time to time and he definitely doesn’t have any trouble performing a hostile takeover of another company if he believes that doing so can benefit his own corporation. In fact, he performed a hostile takeover of a company known as J. Walter Thompson in 1987, and then follow that up two years later with another hostile takeover of Ogilvy and Mather. Clearly, he’s not afraid to do whatever needs to be done in order to ensure the survival of his own corporation.

8. He’s earned an important benchmark in business

He actually has the record for being the Chief Executive Officer of a major United Kingdom corporation longer than anyone else. He started working with WPP in 1985. Today, he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

9. He’s still involved in education

He does a lot of work with the London Business School, passing the torch on to younger individuals that have the same interests and desires that he has. Obviously, he understands the importance of education and he demonstrates that understanding by supporting individuals that are learning about business.

10. He has a global reach

He’s so popular that he’s even been selected to be involved with a team that conducted a business review in the New York City area. The whole purpose was to evaluate what business would look like a few years from now, as well as to point out areas that could benefit from improvement.


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