Sir Martin Sorrell is arguably the most important advertising executive in the world.
As CEO of the WPP Group, he oversees a global marketing machine that he's assembled for more than 30 years. His group's companies include J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, and more than 100 others, and clients include two of every three Fortune Global 500 companies.
When Fortt Knox sat down with him for its most recent podcast, he spoke about his childhood, his career, and the pivotal choices he made. He didn't disappoint.
Here are some of the best lessons:
It's Never Too Late
Sorrell was CFO at then-upstart ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi, when he decided to quit and build his own company. At the time, he was 40 years old.
In an era when Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Spiegel and the Google founders are starting companies in their teens and early 20s, that might sound like a late start, but Sorrell doesn't see it that way.
"I thought it would be good to have a go. I'd made a little bit of money, and borrowed 250,000 pounds [around $310,000 in today's exchange rate]," he said. "Forty in those days used to be a pretty critical age. Because you think of yourself starting work when you're about 20, you come out of college, and finishing when you're 60. Now, of course, here I am at 72 still going."
Then again, Sorrell doesn't seem to follow the calendar most people do. Today he's the father of an infant daughter, his fourth child.