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Proxy adviser ISS offers support to WPP Executive Chairman Roberto Quarta

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Proxy adviser ISS offers support to WPP Executive Chairman Roberto Quarta
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By Kanishka Singh and Simon Jessop

(Reuters) – Proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has offered its support to WPP Plc’s <WPP.L> executive chairman, Roberto Quarta, by recommending that shareholders of the world’s largest advertiser re-elect him at WPP’s annual meeting on June 13.

ISS extended its support to Quarta on Wednesday. He oversaw the recent departure of industry veteran Martin Sorrell, who stepped down as chief executive on April 14 after a probe into an allegation of personal misconduct.

Earlier this month, proxy adviser Glass Lewis & Co, recommended voting against Quarta at WPP’s annual meeting.

ISS said it had raised concerns over the lack of transparency around Sorrell’s departure, but added that “the absence of disclosure” does not imply a failure in governance on WPP’s part.

WPP’s response to allegations about Sorrell, the driving force behind 33 years of dealmaking and relentless expansion at the company, was adequate and showed that appropriate due process was observed, ISS said in an emailed statement, adding that continuity in the board’s leadership best serves the interests of the shareholders.

Quarta became executive chairman after Sorrell’s departure and will hold the position until a new chief executive is found.

WPP has not disclosed any details of Sorrell’s alleged misconduct and he has denied any wrongdoing.

Sorrell has announced plans for a comeback after leaving WPP. On Wednesday, he said he would invest 40 million pounds of his own money in a little-known financial holding company Derriston Capital <DERR.L> and use it to build a “next generation marketing services group”.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Simon Jessop in London; Editing by Tom Brown)

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