And last month amidst slowing down of revenues and income and the growing clout of the FANGS - the board commenced an investigation charging Sorrell with personal misconduct and misuse of the company's assets.
WPP CEO Martin Sorrell's resignation preempts what could have been an inglorious departure for someone who was the public face of the advertising industry writ large. "I think most analysts and investors when adding up the sum of the parts of WPP would answer that it is to break it up", said Alex DeGroote, an analyst with Cenkos Securities.
"As I look ahead, I see that the current disruption we are experiencing is simply putting too much unnecessary pressure on the business, our over 200,000 people and their 500,000 or so dependents, and the clients we serve in 112 countries", Sorrell wrote.
The chairman of WPP, Roberto Quarta, will oversee the agency until a new CEO is appointed.
Sorrell, 73, said in a statement that he was sad to leave, with WPP having been his passion and focus for more than three decades.
Sorrell rejected the allegations and said his commitment to the company which he founded 30 years ago, remains absolute.
One person familiar with the process said the investigation was unlikely to be resolved before the end of next week.
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Born to Jewish parents who were from Kiev, Sorrell began his career in the renowned and trendy ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi (which fashioned winning electoral campaigns for Britain's conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher) in 1975.
WPP PLC is a parent company that, through its subsidiaries, is engaged in the provision of communications and marketing services worldwide.
He is one of the most high profile, and best paid, executives in the country.
Mr. Sorrell, a frenetic, loquacious man, looms like a giant of this advertisements world.
He previously worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, and was knighted in the Queen's New Year honours list in 2000.
However, he always fiercely defended his income, saying it was related to how well the company he started from nothing was doing.
But beyond the investigation that leaked this month, there were other signs Sorrell was losing his magic touch.
As of previous year, Sorrell was said to have a net worth of 495 million pounds, or over $700 million.