LONDON — WPP has confirmed Mark Read, who has been acting joint COO with Andrew Scott since the departure of Sir Martin Sorrell in April, as its new CEO. Scott will continue as COO.

Read, former CEO of WPP advertising agency Wunderman, joins the board of the holding group as an executive director. His contract contains restrictive covenants including an industry non-compete, a non-deal with clients and a non-poach and non-employ of key WPP individuals.

This contrasts with Sorrell’s contract, which did not include a non-compete clause, and meant he was able to directly compete with WPP in July to buy Dutch creative digital production company MediaMonks, the first acquisition for his new venture, S4 Capital.

WPP chairman Roberto Quarta said: “The board carried out a rigorous selection process, assessing internal and external candidates. That process, alongside Mark’s wise and effective stewardship of the business in the last few months, left us with no doubt that he is the right leader for this company, and we are delighted to announce the board's unanimous decision to appoint him as chief executive officer of WPP.

“Recognised for his leadership throughout the industry, he has an intimate understanding of the business, he enjoys very strong internal support, and he has earned the respect and endorsement of our clients with his constant focus on their needs. He has played a central role in many of WPP's most successful investments and initiatives, and he has deep experience at board and operational level. Most recently, Mark led the transformation of Wunderman into one of the world's top digital agencies, and he understands the importance of culture in creating successful organisations. In short, he is in every way a 21st century CEO.

“WPP is a world leader in communications services. The priority for the board and the task ahead for Mark and the new management team is to build on this position of strength, while pursuing a clear vision for change and value creation.”

Read said: “WPP is a great company with exceptional people and strong relationships with clients who place a high value on our work. Few organisations have our global reach – 130,000 people delivering results for clients in 112 different countries. Fewer still have our powerful combination of creativity and expertise in technology and data.

“Our industry is going through a period of structural change, not structural decline, and if we embrace that change we can look ahead to an exciting and successful future. Our mission now is to release the full potential that exists within the company for the benefit of our clients, to accelerate our transformation and simplify our offering, and to position WPP for stronger growth.

“To achieve that we need to foster a culture that attracts the best and brightest: inclusive, respectful, collaborative, diverse. What makes our company special is its people, and I am very proud to have been given the chance to build a new WPP with them.”

As CEO, Read will have an annual salary of £975,000, an annual bonus of up to 250% of salary with mandatory deferral of at least 40% of the bonus into shares deferred for two years, and a long-term incentive plan (LTIP) award of 350% of salary, with performance measured over a five-year period.