WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell has said a close result in the Scottish independence referendum could be the worst outcome.
Speaking to The Drum before the latest opinion polls that showed a swing to Yes, Sorrell said: “On balance the odds are on the polling favouring a ‘no’, but not by a great majority. If it is too close that will complicate things. It would be better to have a decisive result one way or the other.”
WPP owns Edinburgh-based Mediacom whose client list includes Subway and Sorrell has stated his desire for the Unionists to prevail.
On a Yes vote, he said: “It will damage British business, fragmentation doesn’t help and we work better together than we do separately.
“We see it within our own company. We will also do much better if we cooperate with each other as opposed to independent fiefdoms.”
However, he said independence could work under certain conditions.
“If the country became independent and there was a coherent strategy economically and socially and growth as a result, we would invest.
“We would approach Scotland exactly the same way as we would approach any other country which has high growth prospects.
“But if it became mediocre or stagnated as a result of independence we wouldn’t be as enthusiastic about investing.
“However, we have invested in small population countries before like Singapore or Uruguay.”
He warned that an independent Scotland would need to do more than simply cut taxes to attract multi-nationals.
“There’s no good doing tax breaks alone unless you simply want to develop letterbox companies. You don’t want to turn into the Cayman Islands. So tax breaks on their own are not enough. What is required is a coherent strategy around infrastructure, employment, immigration, tax, technology, hardware, software. Any strategy would need to encompass ‘soft’ infrastructure as well as ‘hard’ infrastructure.”
Talking about his Edinburgh media agency, Sorrell said: “Our operations are significant to us, not enormous by significant. We would like to see them stronger. The odds are probably that we will do more if Scotland is part of the UK as independence would complicate things.
“Having said that, if the Scottish voters say Yes we’ll work through it and try and do the best job we can.”
Final voting for the referendum with take place on Thursday 18 September.