Sir Martin Sorrell announced as Leading Light

Monday 03 October 2016


The British Council is pleased to announce that Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and CEO of WPP, has been confirmed as a ‘Leading Light’ for the Generation UK: China Network – a British Council initiative to promote the long-term benefits of student and professional exchanges with the second fastest growing economy in the world.

The ‘Generation UK: China Network’ is part of Generation UK- China, which aims to boost the number of British students who have studied or worked in China to 80,000 by 2020.

As a Leading Light, Sir Martin will play an active role in supporting the network which connects British nationals with experience in China. He will advocate the importance of gaining experience and knowledge of China, by encouraging UK students and professionals to become and remain engaged with the country. 

Sir Martin said: “I am keen to motivate more young people to gain experience in China and demonstrate how this benefits their careers and global competitiveness. A workforce with knowledge and skills pertinent to China will be invaluable for British business and prosperity. I hope that other business leaders will support the Generation UK initiative too.”

Over the course of Sir Martin’s distinguished career in international business, including more than 30 years as CEO of WPP, the world’s largest advertising and marketing services group, and as an Ambassador for British Business, he has been an outspoken supporter of engagement with China. 

China is WPP’s third largest market worldwide, with revenues of over $1.6 billion and more than 14,000 people. Sir Martin (who describes himself as “an unabashed raging bull on China”) first visited the country in 1989 for a WPP board meeting, and has closely followed its growth and development ever since. He frequently speaks and writes on the value of young people engaging with China. 

Ms Carma Elliot, Director, British Council China, said: “It’s exciting to see the number of UK students coming to China increasing so rapidly over the past years, with nearly 8,000 UK students studying or undertaking internships in China in 2015, an increase of 40% since the start of the Generation UK campaign. I first came to China in 1984, and that experience has shaped my career opportunities ever since. I would like to thank Sir Martin for joining us in the Network and supporting more young people to realise the benefits of experience abroad”.

Read Sir Martin Sorrell’s LinkedIn post about the importance of international experience.


Notes to Editor

About Generation UK – China

 The campaign offers funded internships and scholarships for academic study for UK students to gain international experience in China and is currently supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Education and Learning, Northern Ireland and Welsh and Scottish Governments.   

For more information on the Generation UK – China campaign, please visit

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