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Who we are

WPP is the world leader in communications services. It comprises leading companies in all these disciplines:

  • Advertising
  • Media Investment Management
  • Consumer Insight
  • Public Relations & Public Affairs
  • Branding & Identity
  • Healthcare Communications
  • Direct, Digital, Promotion & Relationship Marketing
  • Specialist Communications

In June 2013, WPP was named Holding Company of the Year at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity for the third year running and was ranked the World's Most Effective Holding Company in the Effie Global Effectiveness Index for the second year in a row.

  • 165,000*

    Collectively, over 165,000* people work for WPP companies

  • 3,000

    The Group has 3,000 offices in 110 countries

Including associates.

Between them, our companies work with:

  • 350

    of the Fortune Global 500

  • 30

    of the Dow Jones 30

  • 63

    of the NASDAQ 100

  • 31

    of the Fortune e-50

  • 480

    Nearly 480 clients are served in four disciplines

  • 57%

    These 480 clients account for over 57% of the Group revenues

  • 760

    Almost 760 clients are now served in three distinct disciplines

  • 360

    Group companies also work with almost 360 clients across six or more countries

Why we exist

  • Our mission
  • To develop and manage talent;
  • to apply that talent,
  • throughout the world,
  • for the benefit of clients;
  • to do so in partnership;
  • to do so with profit.

WPP, the parent company, complements our operating companies in three distinct ways.

  • BulletFirst, it relieves them of much administrative work. Financial matters (such as planning, budgeting, reporting, control, treasury, tax, mergers, acquisitions, investor relations, legal affairs and internal audit) are co-ordinated centrally.
  • BulletSecond, the parent company encourages and enables operating companies of different disciplines to work together for the benefit of clients. It also plays an across-the-Group role in the management of talent, property, procurement, IT, knowledge sharing, practice development and sustainability.
  • BulletAnd, finally, WPP itself can function as the 21st-century equivalent of the full-service agency. For some clients, predominantly those with a vast geographical spread and a need for a wide range of marketing services, WPP can act as a portal to provide a single point of contact and accountability.

Who runs WPP

Non-executive chairman

  • Philip Lader
  • Chairman of the Nomination and Governance Committee Member of the Compensation Committee

Executive directors

  • Sir Martin Sorrell
  • Chief executive
  • Paul Richardson
  • Finance director
  • Chairman of the Sustainability Committee
  • Mark Read
  • Strategy director
  • Chief executive, WPP Digital

Non-executive directors

  • Roger Agnelli
  • Jacques Aigrain
  • Colin Day
  • Esther Dyson
  • Orit Gadiesh
  • Ruigang Li
  • Jeffrey Rosen
  • Hugo Shong
  • Timothy Shriver
  • Sally Susman
  • Sol Trujillo

Share ownership



Ordinary share owners have received the following dividends in respect of each financial year:

  2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
First interim dividend per ordinary share 8.80p 7.46p 5.97p 5.19p 5.19p
Final or second interim dividend per ordinary share 19.71p 17.14p 11.82p 10.28p 10.28p
Total 28.51p 24.60p 17.79p 15.47p 15.47p provides current and historical financial information, news releases, trading reports and share price information.
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Contact points

Investor relations

  • Chris Sweetland
  • Deputy Group finance director
  • Tel +44 (0)20 7408 2204
  • Fran Butera
  • Investor relations director
  • Tel +1 (212) 632 2235

Investor information

  • Investor relations material and our financial statements are available online at

Corporate communications and media relations

  • Feona McEwan
  • Group communications director
  • Tel +44 (0)20 7408 2204


  • Vanessa Edwards
  • Head of sustainability
  • Tel +44 (0)20 7408 2204

Key highlights

  • £10.4 bn

    Revenues up 3.5% to £10.4 billion, exceeding all our competitors for the fifth consecutive year

  • +7%

    Headline PBIT up over 7%, and up 11% in constant currencies

  • 16%

    Dividends increased by almost 16%, a record level

  • £1.092 bn

    Reported profit before tax up over 8% to £1.092 billion

  • +8%

    Diluted headline earnings per share up over 8% to an all-time high

  • 4

    Focus on four core strategic priorities: faster-growing markets, new media, new technology and ‘horizontality’

2012 financial summary

  2012 2011Change %
Billings1 £44,405m £44,792m -0.9
Revenue £10,373m £10,022m +3.5
Headline EBITDA2 £1,756m £1,640m +7.0
Headline operating profit2 £1,459m £1,365m +6.9
Reported operating profit £1,241m £1,192m +4.1
Headline PBIT2 £1,531m £1,429m +7.1
Headline PBIT margin2 14.8% 14.3% +0.5
Headline PBT2 £1,317m £1,229m +7.2
Reported PBT £1,092m £1,008m +8.3
Headline earnings2 £966m £882m +9.5
Reported earnings £823m £840m -2.0
Headline diluted earnings per share2,4 73.4p 67.7p +8.4
Reported diluted earnings per share4 62.8p 64.5p -2.6
Ordinary dividend per share 28.51p 24.60p +15.9
Ordinary dividend per ADR3 $2.26 $1.97 +14.7
Net debt at year-end £2,821m £2,465m +14.4
Average net debt5 £3,203m £2,811m +13.9
Ordinary share price at year-end 888.0p 675.5p +31.5
ADR price at year-end $72.90 $52.23 +39.6
Market capitalisation at year-end £11,237m £8,554m +31.4
At 17 April 2013      
Ordinary share price 1,027.0p    
ADR price $78.57    
Market capitalisation £13,003m    
The financial statements have been prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Billings is defined on page 226 of the 2012 WPP Annual Report.
The calculation of ‘headline’ measurements of performance (including headline EBITDA, headline operating profit, headline PBIT, headline PBT and headline earnings) is shown in note 31 of the financial statements of the 2012 WPP Annual Report.
One American Depositary Receipt (ADR) represents five ordinary shares. These figures have been translated for convenience purposes only using the income statement exchange rates shown on page 180 of the 2012 WPP Annual Report. This conversion should not be construed as a representation that the pound sterling amounts actually represent, or could be converted into, US dollars at the rates indicated.
Earnings per share is calculated in note 9 of the financial statements of the 2012 WPP Annual Report.
Average net debt is defined on page 226 of the 2012 WPP Annual Report.

Revenue £m


Headline EBITDA1 £m


Headline PBIT1 £m


Headline diluted earnings per share1 p


After-tax return on average capital
employed2 %


Relative TSR Rebased to 31 December 2007


Average net debt £m


Debt maturity3 £m


2012 revenue by geography %


2012 headline PBIT1 by geography %


2012 revenue by sector %


2012 headline PBIT1 by sector %

The calculation of ‘headline’ measurements of performance (including headline EBITDA, headline PBIT and headline earnings) is shown in note 31 of the financial statements of the 2012 WPP Annual Report. Headline gross margin margin is defined on page 226 of the 2012 WPP Annual Report.
Calculated gross of goodwill and using profit after taxation before investment gains/losses and write-downs, goodwill impairment and other goodwill write-downs, revaluation of financial instruments, amortisation and impairment of acquired intangible assets, share of exceptional losses/gains of associates, costs incurred in 2008 in changing the corporate structure of the Group; and, in 2012, the gain on sale of freehold property in New York, Group restructuring costs and costs incurred in changing the corporate structure of the Group, and adjusted to reflect taxes and net finance costs paid.
Includes corporate bonds, convertible bonds and bank loans payable at par value, excluding any redemption premium due, by due date.

Our six specific objectives

  • Continue to improve operating margins

  • Increase flexibility in the cost structure

  • Use free cash flow to enhance share owner value and improve return on capital

  • Continue to develop the value added by the parent company

  • Emphasise revenue growth more as margins improve

  • Improve still further the creative capabilities and reputation of all our businesses

Our four core strategic priorities


Increase the combined geographic share of revenues from the faster-growing markets of Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe to 35-40%.


Increase the share of revenues of new media to 35-40%.


Increase the share of more measurable marketing services – such as Consumer Insight and direct, digital and interactive – to be more than 50% of revenues, with a focus on the application of new technology, big data and digital.


Achieve ‘horizontality’ by ensuring our people work together for the benefit of clients, primarily through two horizontal integrators: client leaders and Country Managers.

Sustainability review

Sustainability performance summary
  2012 2011 2010
Value of client business supported by our sustainability credentials* $1.2bn $1bn
Gender diversity (% of women total employees) 54% 54% 54%
Gender diversity (% of women Board directors/executive leaders) 32% 31% 31%
Investment in training and welfare £57.8m £58.3m £48.9m
Carbon footprint (tonnes of CO2 per person) 2.45 2.44 2.51
Social investment (£ million) £16.2m £15.3m £14.3m
Value of clients who requested information on our sustainability policies and performance through their supplier management process.

Our five areas of focus are:

  • The impact of our work for clients. Our companies advise clients on sustainability, helping them to refine their strategies and create compelling communications. The value of client business supported by our sustainability credentials was worth at least $1.2 billion to the Group in 2012.
  • Marketing standards. We work to embed high ethical standards in our conduct and work for clients and to protect consumer data used for marketing purposes.
  • Employment practices. Our talent strategy includes competitive remuneration alongside a focus on diversity and inclusion, high-quality training and employee engagement. 32% of Board members and executive leaders are women.
  • Environmental performance. We have reduced our carbon footprint per person by 28% since 2006. Our target is a 65% reduction by 2020.
  • Social investment including pro bono work. Our total social investment was worth £16.2 million, the equivalent of 1.5% of reported profit before tax.

During 2012, WPP’s sustainability program was recognised with:

  • IVCA Clarion Award for Strategic Communication
  • Golden Peacock Award for responding to the needs of different stakeholders
  • Corporate Engagement Award for the Group’s commitment to supporting charities and NGOs
  • Galaxy Gold Award for WPP’s Sustainability Report and Best Use of Digital to communicate sustainability at the Digital Impact Awards
  • Mercury Awards: Gold for the 2011/2012 Sustainability Report; Silver for the Sustainability Highlights iPad app
  • WPP was also ranked in the top 100 of Newsweek’s 2012 Green Rankings of 500 global companies.

2012 awards and accolades

Cannes Lions International Festival
  • For the second year running, WPP was named Holding Company of the Year at the 2012 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. And Ogilvy & Mather was named Network of the Year. Watch the Cannes highlights here.

WPP: Creative Holding Company of the Year 2012

Effie Effectiveness Index
  • WPP was ranked Most Effective Holding Company, Globally, in the 2012 Effie Effectiveness Index.
WPP CEO Martin Sorrell
  • In December 2012, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell was named Britain’s Most Admired Leader by Management Today and received the UK Marketing Society’s Outstanding Leadership Award.
  • WPP’s global internal newspaper and ebook, The WIRE, is consistently ranked in the Top 50 worldwide for Internal Communications Materials in the LACP Inspire Awards.

During 2012, WPP’s 2011 Annual Report was recognised with:

  • PwC Building Public Trust Awards 2012: Highly Commended for People Reporting
  • LACP Vision Awards: Gold for Best Letter to Shareholders EMEA and industry excellence; ranked in the Top 50 EMEA Annual Reports and in the Top 100 Annual Reports, Worldwide
  • Communicate magazine’s Corporate and Financial Awards: Silver for Best Online Report

Sorrell speaks...

WPP’s CEO on grey swans, the decade of Latin America, big data and the growth of digital in its myriad forms, horizontality, and the recruitment and nurturing of talent from around the world.

Download Martin Sorrell’s article:

Listen with Jeremy

Industry sage and WPP advisor, Jeremy Bullmore, reads his latest essay, Lessons to be Learned from Robert McNamara and a Pair of Long-handled Toe-nail Clippers.


Raising tomorrow’s leaders

WPP’s unique three-year Marketing Fellowships are creating the future generation of leaders for WPP companies all over the world.

Director Jon Steel describes the program.

Director Jon Steel on Raising tomorrow's leaders

BrandZ on the rise

BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands 2013

Since 1998 WPP, in association with Millward Brown, has published definitive studies of brand valuations, analysis and insights on 60,000 brands in over 200 categories drawn from interviews with over 150,000 people every year in up to 400 studies around the world.

In the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands 2013, the top10 brand value growth risers score significantly higher than average on the BrandZ™ equity measures of Meaningful, Different and Salient. Prada grew the most in brand value, by +63%.

Top 50 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2013

WPP’s third annual Top 50 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2013 study provides further evidence of the growing importance of brand equity in China.

The BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands 2012 rankings corroborate the increasing importance of the world’s fast-growing markets and confirms that Lat Am brands are now competing with global brands.

BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Latin American Brands 2012

WPP news and updates

  • For information in a mobile format please visit
  • At a glance 2013
  • Written and produced by WPP
  • All illustrations © Erica Hestu Wahyuni
  • Designed by Addison
  • ©WPP 2013