Advertising giant WPP has appointed Roberto Quarta as its next chairman, succeeding long-time chairman Philip Lader.
Mr. Quarta currently serves as chairman of medical technology company Smith & Nephew and as chairman of engineering firm IMI, though he is resigning from the latter position. He will join WPP’s board on Jan. 1 as chairman-designate and will become chairman at WPP’s annual shareholder meeting in June. Mr. Quarta will serve on the board’s nomination and governance committee and the compensation committee.
Roberto Quarta has told the industrial group IMI that he will step down as chairman by the middle of next year in order to take up a similar role at WPP, the marketing services giant.
Quarta, a respected industrialist, will replace Philip Lader as chairman of WPP. Lader has held the job since 2001, slightly longer than corporate governance guidelines suggest as an optimal period, in order to be seen to remain fully independent.
WPP, which has been at the centre of significant shareholder revolts over the pay packages of some of its directors for two years running, will meet its self-imposed deadline of getting a chairman effectively in place by the end of the year, as per recent report
Quarta will initially take a non-executive director’s role before moving up to the chair midway through next year. He is leaving IMI next year to give himself more time to focus on his new commitment and his other roles, which involve being chairman of Smith & Nephew.
For Quarta, the job will involve a change of sectors, which will provide the businessman with a fresh challenge.
He will be working at WPP alongside chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, who has done wonders for the company’s growth.
“Following an exhaustive search, the Board has chosen Roberto to be its next Chairman, as his experience and background complement and will help develop WPP’s strategy in new markets, in new media, in data investment management and the application of technology and, last but not least, horizontality,” Mr. Sorrell said.
Mr. Quarta’s appointment “completes our refreshment of the board,” Mr. Lader said in a statement, noting the board over the past three years has appointed 10 new directors and phased the retirement of long-serving board members. Mr. Lader joined WPP’s board as chairman in 2001 and in April announced his plans to step down from the post.
WPP is the world’s largest ad holding company and owns agencies such as Grey and Ogilvy & Mather.