Roberto Quarta
Roberto Quarta

Martin Sorrell, who resigned earlier this month as WPP CEO following a probe into financial misconduct, earned $19.1M in last, down 71 percent from the $66.3M earned in 2016, according to the ad/PR conglomerate's annual report released today.

Roberto Quarta, executive chairman, wrote in his letter to shareholders that Sorrell's departure was a difficult moment for WPP

“The board’s succession planning has always considered two scenarios: the planned transition over time and the unforeseen event," he wrote. "We would not have chosen the latter but that is what happened and we were prepared for it.”

Quarta says there was no hesitation in immediately appointing Mark Read and Andrew Scott as joint Chief Operating Officers of WPP

"Mark and Andrew have been given a mandate to move forward decisively, to accelerate the strategy, and to apply their own views, abilities and expertise in doing so. There is no standing still," wrote Quarta.

WPP has retained external search consultants to conduct the recruitment process for Sorrell's replacement.

"We will consider both internal and external candidates to find the best leader to take WPP forward, and while this will be concluded as quickly as possible, there is no set timeframe," wrote Quarta.

Quarta is confident that WPP will carry on in the post-Sorrell era. "It remains the clear market leader, the fundamentals of the business are strong and we have a wealth of capabilities within the Group that few if any other companies worldwide can match," he wrote.