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WPP boss Mark Read: Our problem wasn’t size, but lack of central management

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WPP is through the worst of its agency mergers but still needs to improve its creative output, boss Mark Read has told an industry conference.

Speaking at the Advertising Week Europe gathering in London, WPP’s global CEO Read – who took the organisation’s helm in September after the acrimonious departure of founder Sir Martin Sorrell – was unapologetic about the string of recent mergers which characterised his first few months’ in charge of the challenged conglomerate.

WPP is among the world’s biggest communications groups, although its market capitalisation has halved over the last two years to around $20bn.

These global mergers included bringing together JWT and Wunderman to create Wunderman Thompson; MEC and Maxus to create Wavemaker; and merging Young & Rubicam with VML to create VMLY&R. Locally The White Agency and Grey merged to create WhiteGrey.

WPP is also looking to sell a majority stake in its research operation Kantar.

Read said: “I’m a believer in the WPP brand and the brands inside the organisation. Just, maybe, not four or five hundred of them.”

Read: Doesn’t want WPP to operate hundreds of agency brands

Under Sorrell, WPP was managed by a famously small global management team from a townhouse in central London,........

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