WPP is a British multinational advertising and public relations company founded originally as Wire and Plastic Products plc, in 1971, to manufacture wire shopping baskets. In 1985 Martin Sorrell, then financial director for the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, bought a controlling stake of just under 30% at a cost of $676,000 and renamed the holding company WPP Group; in 1987 Sorrell became its chief executive. Today, with its main office in London, England, and executive office in Dublin, Ireland, WPP owns a number of advertising, public relations, media and market research networks, including Ogilvy, J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam, IMRB, Millward Brown, AKQA, Grey Group, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, TNS, GroupM, and Cohn & Wolfe. It is now one of the "Big Four" agency companies, alongside Publicis, Interpublic Group of Companies, and Omnicom.
On 14 April 2018, Martin Sorrell retired 33 years after founding the company. Roberto Quarta, chairman of WPP, became executive chairman and in September, 2018, Mark Read was appointed as CEO.
In November, 2018, WPP leadership decided to merge J. Walter Thompson, the world’s oldest ad agency, with digital network Wunderman, resulting in an organization known as Wunderman Thompson and be headquartered in JWT’s offices on Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue.