Martin Sorrell 'created a monster in advertising' and will be hard to replace, says telecom tycoon

  • It won't be easy to replace Martin Sorrell at WPP, warned Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris.
  • Sorrell "created a monster in advertising" and his success story will be "very difficult to replicate," Sawiris told CNBC's "Capital Connection."

The resignation of Martin Sorrell from his post as the chief of WPP is "a very sad event" and it will be a big challenge for someone to fill his chair, according to Egyptian magnate Naguib Sawiris.

"He's created a monster in advertising, he's created a success story that is very difficult to replicate," Sawiris, a billionaire who made his fortune building a telecommunications empire from the Middle East to South Asia, told CNBC's Capital Connection.

Sorrell is "a workaholic" who knows all his numbers and subsidiaries, said Sawiris, who owns a telecom company in North Korea and also has business interests in gold mining. "This is not the kind of guy you can replace and think the next CEO will do a good job."

Naguib Sawiris, chairman and chief executive officer of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding.
Diego Levy/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Naguib Sawiris, chairman and chief executive officer of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding.

Sorrell, credited for turning WPP into the world's biggest advertising agency, quit on Saturday amid allegations of personal misconduct. In a statement, the 73 year-old businessman said, "WPP is not just a matter of life or death, it was, is and will be more important than that."

Chairman Roberto Quarta will take on the role of executive chairman until a new CEO is found.

"I hope that his legacy doesn't fall by this disruption," Sawiris said, adding that he believed WPP should consult Sorrell on choosing the next CEO. If a successor is chosen abruptly, that could be "very dangerous," the Egyptian billionaire cautioned.

During his three decades in the industry, Sorrell developed a reputation for strong opinions and an autocratic management style.