Ford Motor stated on Saturday it will take bids on a number of its advertising managed by WPP, adding to uncertainty around the British ad giant after exit of founder Martin Sorrell this month.
While Ford’s decision does not impact much of its accounts with WPP – and the firm will be able to bid for the rest of the business along with everyone else – it comes at a difficult juncture for the biggest advertising firm of the world.
Sorrell, who more than 33 years built the firm into one of Britain’s biggest companies, quit this month as chief executive officer after an allegation of personal misconduct that he rejects.
Saturday’s declaration is part of a review of automaker Ford’s strategy that has lasted since November, when it informed long-time partner WPP that it was thinking about its future ad model.
“We are going to place some portions of our advertising business up for bid with other firms, including WPP, beginning in the coming weeks. No decisions have been made,” Ford Britain stated.
It added that WPP is a trusted partner of the automaker and that it had offered the firm more detail about its marketing aspirations.
WPP, which counts Ford as an important client, refused to comment.