Annual Report 2021

Mark Read - Chief Executive Officer - WPP

Through our agencies, we created truly extraordinary work that pushed back the boundaries of what our industry is able to achieve

Mark Read CBE

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive’s Statement PDF 161 KB Ukraine: Our Response PDF 37 KB

2021 highlights

2021 was a year of success and momentum, thanks to our extraordinary people, agencies, clients and partners.

Building better futures for our people

Investing in our people's future


Talented people in 112 countries across the globe
Women in executive leadership roles1


(2020: 40%)

Technology accreditations and certifications earned from partners


(2020: 21,000+)

Building better futures for our planet

Including our industry-leading commitment to reduce carbon emissions from our own operations to net zero by 2025 and across our supply chain by 2030

Carbon emissions per person2 from direct operations (Scope 1 and 2)


(2020: 0.52tCO2e)

Electricity purchased from renewable sources


(2020: 65%)


CDP scorecard, ranking WPP as a leader on climate change
(2020: B)

Building better futures for our clients

Delivering transformational results for our clients


of the Fortune Global 500 are WPP clients, reflecting demand for our services among the world's leading companies

Most creative company

of the year at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2021


industry-leading net new billings
(2020: $4.4bn)3

Building better futures for our communities

Helping to bring about change for the better in society

Leader in the

Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index

for the fourth year in a row


in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Corporate Equality Index for LGBTQ+ communities
(2020: 100%)


committed to inclusion programmes as part of our commitment to invest $30m over three years

Financial performance

In 2021, we grew at our fastest rate for over 20 years


Billings3 (+14.4%4)
(2020: £46.9bn)


Revenue (+13.3%4)
(2020: £12.0bn)


Headline operating margin3
(+1.5 pt)
(2020: 12.9%)

Denotes information subject to limited assurance by PricewaterhourseCoopers LLP ('PwC'). For PwC's 2021 Limited Assurance report and the ‘WPP Sustainability Reporting Criteria 2021’ for assured metrics, see our Sustainability Report 2021.
□ Independent limited assurance will be sought by WPP over our percentage electricity purchased from renewable sources. The assurance report will be made available on our website.
  1. Executive leadership roles are defined by WPP as the agency board and executive leadership population as reported through WPP's financial reporting system.
  2. Full Time Equivalent Employee (FTE).
  3. Billings and headline operating margin are defined in the Glossary on page 222 of the Annual Report.
  4. Like-for-like growth as defined in the Glossary on page 222 of the Annual Report.

Key events of the year

2021 was a year of success and momentum for WPP

Download key events of the year PDF 363 KB

WPP 2021 timeline
WPP 2021 timeline
WPP 2021 timeline
WPP 2021 timeline
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Our strategic progress

It has been three years since we set out our strategy to return WPP to growth. Our top-line performance is ahead of plan, with like-for-like growth of 12.1% in 2021, which is 2.9% over 2019.

Strategic Report PDF 13.2 MB

Sky Glass TV

Two people looking at each other

Our business model

We offer clients a comprehensive range of communications, experience, commerce and technology services. We bring together diverse capabilities from integrated and specialist agencies globally.

Download Our Business Model PDF 181 KB

Investment case

The unrivalled combination of our deep client relationships, global scale and value-creating growth strategy underpins the attractiveness of our investment proposition.

Download Investment Case PDF 57 KB

NFT sneaker
Roberto Quarta, Chairman at WPP, headshot

The progress we have made in the last three years has been recognised by many of our largest clients, who have renewed and expanded their relationships with WPP and our agencies

Roberto Quarta


Chairman’s Letter PDF 83 KB

We have the financial strength to invest in future growth through talent, capabilities and targeted M&A, while rewarding shareholders today

John Rogers

Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer’s Statement PDF 95 KB
John Rogers, WPP Chief Financial Officer, headshot

Jeremy Bullmore

Celebrating an industry legend

Jeremy Bullmore has been described by Campaign magazine as “quite possibly the most admired man in advertising”. He has contributed an essay to WPP’s Annual Report for over 20 years. Thank you, Jeremy.

Download tribute to Jeremy Bullmore on his retirement PDF 418 KB

Client work