Departure of advertising giant Sorrell leaves WPP empire vulnerable to breakup

The company’s shares fell 6.5% on Monday with WPP’s future strategy now unclear. Sorrell, who turned a 1985 investment in a wire shopping basket manufacturer — the name stands for Wire and Plastic Products — into a behemoth of more than 200,000 employees, was long seen as irreplaceable, the man pulling the strings to connect its more than 400 agencies who create marketing campaigns for clients such as Coca-Cola Co. and Procter & Gamble Co. Now, the group faces pitches from investment bankers pushing asset sales or a more dramatic dissolution.