Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: It took two years, but WPP finally settled the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by JWT Chief Communications Officer Erin Johnson. As Ad Age's I-Hsien Sherwood writes, Johnson also resigned Wednesday, effective immediately. The suit alleged that Gustavo Martinez, then global CEO of JWT, made sexist, racist and anti-Semitic comments. (Need a refresher about what exactly he was accused of? Read this and this.) Details of the new agreement have not been disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal described the settlement as substantial. Johnson's suit predated the #MeToo movement that started toppling ad execs accused of bad behavior in recent months. Diet Madison Avenue, the anonymous Instagram account that has been calling out sexism and discrimination in the ad industry, wrote an open letter to Erin Johnson that read, in part, "Thank you for paving the way for others to stand up and speak out against sexual harassment, abuse and bullying."
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News of the Johnson settlement came a day after WPP announced that its board was probing an as-yet unspecified allegation of "personal misconduct" against CEO Martin Sorrell, who transformed a manufacturer of wire baskets into the world's biggest advertising company. As Ad Age's Megan Graham writes, investment bank Liberium noted that Sorrell has denied the allegation and WPP has not suspended him, "so the way it is being handled does not suggest a major issue. One thing this may do is intensify talk about Sir Martin's successor at WPP, which has been an issue lurking in the background." Sorrell is 73 and has never said which exec might one day step in for him. "There's not any one person you point at and say, well, that's the obvious person," Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser told Graham.