WPP's reported first-quarter revenues slipped four percent to $4.6B, though like-for-like performance inched ahead 0.8 percent.
The poor financial performance sent WPP shares tumbling about eight percent.
A lackluster North America market held back growth as revenues there dropped 10.6 percent to $1.7B on a reported basis and 1.1 percent LFL.
CEO Mark Read told the Wall Street Journal he's unhappy with the creative shops in North America. “I think they could be stronger both reputationally and in the quality of the work," he said. "Part of that is that we need to invest in them.”
WPP's PR/PA group (Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Finsbury, Ogilvy) reported a 6.7 percent decline in reported revenues to $352M and a 1.5 percent gain on an LFL basis.
Looking ahead, Read and COO Andrew Scott will take "a fresh look at our strategy, developing a vision for the group that recognizes the challenges and opportunities presented by the structural shifts in our industry, and executing resolutely against it."
They promised to "proactively" deal with under-performing parts of WPP to enhance growth and shareholder value.