Sir Martin Sorrell called me “a germ carrier”. A liar. A disgrace to the Financial Times. Then, a couple of days later, he invited me to lunch. Surely some mistake? “I actually checked before writing,” said his aide. “Can you suggest some dates?”

Our quarrel was over an interview in November. It was one of many Sir Martin has given blasting the “bozos” at WPP, a maker of wire shopping baskets that he took on a 33-year odyssey to become the world’s biggest advertising and marketing services group — before his acrimonious departure two years ago...

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