WPP's Sorrell: Europe 'halfway through' decade of slow growth
updated 12:10 AM EST, Fri December 7, 2012
- Martin Sorrell fears Europe's growth problem will last more than just one year
- CEO of WPP predicts there will be slow growth until 2017 or 2018
- He remains optimistic for Germany, Poland and Russia, as well as "Next 11" economies
- Sorrell says it will be "tough sledding" for France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom
(CNN) -- The 2013 forecast for European economic growth has turned into a prediction for decay. The European Central Bank on Thursday flipped next year's gross domestic product forecast from growth of 0.3% to a fall of 0.9% next year.
Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, told CNN's Richard Quest he fears Europe's growth problem will last more than just one year.
"This is a decade of slow growth. We are halfway through it. Hopefully we are halfway through it," says Sorrell. "And there's going to be another three, four, five years of tough stuff until we get out of it around 2017, 2018."
But Sorrell, head of the world's largest advertising company, said he sees an easier path for Eastern Europe over Western Europe. He is optimistic for the former, citing energy resources in Germany and Poland, and is even "very bullish" on Russia.
Sorrell: Biz wants Obama to compromise
'Fiscal cliff' could bring recession
The London trading battle
"The axis of those three countries is very popular and is very positive -- certainly in the short to medium term and maybe even longer term," says Sorrell.
But Sorrell says it will be "tough sledding" for France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
On Thursday, ECB President Mario Draghi outlined Europe's short-term growth challenges as the eurozone fell back into recession in the third quarter. Poor consumer demand, investor sentiment and "subdued" foreign demand led to the downgrade, Draghi said.
Europe's chronic debt crisis has also loomed as a cloud over the Continent the past few years.
The U.S. fiscal cliff is yet another concern. If Washington fails to stop a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to kick in on the first day of 2013, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the world's largest economy could fall back into recession and potentially take other countries down with it.
WPP's Sorrell blames the past few years for the problems of the present and the future.
"Given the excesses of the past, given the overexpansion, the overinflation of the money supply, the problems that we had which culminated...in August 2007 in the United States with the subprime crisis -- and really were topped out by the Lehman crisis of September 2008 -- really it's going to take a long time for us to get through that."
Looking forward, Sorrell says his strategy for WPP is "quite clear" and involves expanding further into digital media and into the BRICs -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- and nearly a dozen other emerging economies such as Indonesia, Egypt and Mexico known as the Next 11.
"We have to fight our way through this."
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:26 AM EDT, Tue May 14, 2013
The "rich man's club" of Europe faces economic decay as it struggles to absorb Europe's "poor people", according to economic experts on the troubled region.
updated 11:32 AM EDT, Tue May 7, 2013
Unemployment at a 16-year high and the lowest approval rating for a president in modern French history; this is the wreckage from Francois Hollande's first year in office.
updated 6:44 AM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
As European financial markets close for the spring celebration of May Day, protesters across Europe and beyond have taken to the streets to demonstrate.
updated 8:10 AM EDT, Fri April 26, 2013
As Croatia prepares to enter the 27-nation European Union, the country's Prime Minister says Italy must return to being the "powerhouse of Europe."
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Thu April 25, 2013
Spain's unemployment rate rose to a record high of 27.2% in the first quarter of 2013, the Spanish National Institute of Statistics said Thursday.
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Fri April 12, 2013
Turkey is a "source of inspiration" to show how Islam and democracy can go hand-in-hand, the country's deputy prime minister has told CNN.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
Cypriots are discussing the long-term effects of their 10 billion euro bailout. How come the Irish and the Spanish didn't lose their savings? Why us?
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Mon March 25, 2013
The financial uncertainty in Cyprus is generating images of long lines at ATM machines and anti-European Union protests.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
Opinion: We must be careful to avoid panic and reckless measures that would exacerbate the crisis.
updated 2:15 PM EDT, Mon March 25, 2013
Cyprus will "step up efforts in areas of fiscal consolidation." Where have we heard that before? Oh yes. Greece.
updated 2:13 PM EDT, Mon March 25, 2013
Finland's political leaders held an informal summit in Saariselka, Lapland. Quest: This was an opportunity to see leaders "at their most honest."
updated 10:18 AM EDT, Wed March 27, 2013
Cyprus has become the latest eurozone nation to apply for a bailout amid a financial crisis linked to debt defaults in Greece.
updated 10:49 AM EDT, Wed March 27, 2013
BRICS leaders meet in South Africa to make deal on development bank. But instead of BRICS, today everyone is talking about the "CIVETS."
updated 9:39 PM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
The Cyprus debt crisis is being felt by the banks but also by the people who work at them. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
updated 8:10 PM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on a Russian hotel maid caught up in Cyprus' financial crisis.
updated 12:08 PM EDT, Mon March 18, 2013
Never underestimate the capacity of the Eurozone to shoot itself in both feet, says CNN's Richard Quest.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Tue March 12, 2013
Thousands of Greeks are unable to obtain life-saving drugs as pharmaceutical firms say they are limiting supplies to Greece over unpaid debts.
updated 11:03 AM EST, Thu February 21, 2013
Spain has seen hundreds of protests since the "Indignados" movement erupted in 2011, marches and sit-ins are now common sights in the capital.