Our six specific objectives:

4 Fourth, we will continue to enhance the contribution of the parent company and build unique integrated marketing approaches for clients. WPP is not just a holding company focused on planning, budgeting, reporting and financial issues, but a parent company that can add value to our clients and our people in the areas of human resources, property, procurement, information technology and practice development. We will continue to do this through a limited group of 300 or so people at the centre in Dublin, London, New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai. This does not mean that we seek to diminish the strength of our operating brands. Our objective is to maximise the added value for our clients with their businesses and our people with their careers.

Many of our initiatives are possible because of the scale on which we now operate. In the optimum use of property, in information technology and in procurement generally, we are able to achieve efficiencies that would be beyond the reach of any individual operating company.

But it is also clear that there is an increasing requirement for the centre to complement the operating companies in professional development and client co-ordination. It is a relatively recent development for certain multinational marketing companies, when looking to satisfy their global communications needs, to make their initial approach not to operating companies but directly to parent companies.

Such assignments present major, and increasingly frequent, opportunities for the few groups of our size. It is absolutely essential that we have the professional resources and the practice development capability to serve such clients comprehensively, actively and creatively. The recent high-profile, high technology pitch (that we won against all our competitors), to build a totally new agency for that client’s needs, is the most extreme and exciting (and difficult) example of this. Similar initiatives involving some of the world’s largest marketers continue to gain momentum.

All our clients, whether global, multinational or local, continue to focus on the quality of our thinking, co-ordination of communications, and price. In response, we focus on talent, structure and incentives.