Bharat Thakrar Sues WPP Plc for $30.2 Million in Kenya

Bharat Thakrar, the Kenyan advertising entrepreneur best known for co-founding WPP-Scangroup, has filed a lawsuit in Nairobi against WPP Plc, the parent firm based in the United Kingdom, and its Kenyan subsidiary, WPP-Scangroup, as well as its directors.

This move followed his suspension from the firm in 2021 and his February announcement to sue WPP for £24 million ($30.2 million).

Thakrar, who created Scanad in 1982 and rebranded it as WPP-Scangroup in 2013, says that WPP’s efforts have injured his reputation and caused emotional suffering through defamatory statements.

He claims that his ban resulted in missed business opportunities, potentially costing £24 million ($30.2 million). Court filings show that he intends to seek compensation for the earnings he may have received as CEO of Scangroup.

According to court records, Thakrar claims that WPP made defamatory allegations to Airtel Africa, harming his reputation and interfering with future commercial ties. He alleges that his termination from WPP-Scangroup was due to discriminatory activities and manipulation by WPP, which he claims broke regulatory requirements.

Thakrar further claims that WPP purposefully disclosed details of internal investigations into alleged misbehavior, resulting in considerable reputational damage. He claims that the disciplinary proceedings against him were discriminatory and reminiscent of neocolonialist practices, specifically targeting executives of Indian heritage.

Patricia Ithau, a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in significant firms, has been leading WPP-Scangroup since March 2022.

According to data from the Nairobi Securities Exchange, WPP-Scangroup shares are trading at Ksh2.18 and have a market capitalization of Ksh942 million (USD $6.65 million). Thakrar’s 10.5 percent interest in the company is currently valued at Ksh 98.9 million (USD $0.7 million).

The court battle between Thakrar and WPP Plc, as well as WPP-Scangroup and its board, highlights the difficulties of corporate governance and charges of misbehavior in the advertising sector. As the dispute progresses through Nairobi’s courts, it has substantial ramifications for WPP-Scangroup’s future trajectory and the Kenyan advertising landscape as a whole.

Written by PH

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