Mark Read
Mark Read

WPP Co-COO Mark Read today sent a memo to staffers to stress the ad/PR giant's commitment to fostering working environments where staffers "feel safe and supported."

The memo comes a day following a Financial Times blockbuster report that alleged former CEO Martin Sorrell was verbally abusive to executive assistants and junior colleagues, and just ahead of WPP's general meeting tomorrow.

The FT, Wall Street Journal and Daily Mail also reported that Sorrell allegedly used corporate funds to pay for the services of a prostitute.

Sorrell has vigorously denied both charges.

In his memo, Reed references Sorrell's press coverage, "including his behavior towards people at the parent company," but does not comment on specific allegations.

"I feel we should remind ourselves of and reinforce the kind of values we want and need to have within every part of our business: values of fairness, tolerance, kindness and – again – respect," he wrote.

Read reminded staffers that WPP maintains a "Right to Speak" helpline, where issues can be raised without fear of reprisal. The helpline "protects the identity of anyone who would rather not speak directly to their line manager or other senior people about their concerns."

Read wrote that he and fellow Co-COO Andrew Scott are leading a review of WPP policies and its code of conduct.

They understand that if WPP wants to continue to recruit top talent, it must have a positive, supportive and inclusive culture in every office.

"More importantly, it’s the right thing to do," wrote Read.