Sir Martin Sorrell defends £63m pay package amid fears of 2016 shareholder spring: "If WPP does well, I do well"

 
William Turvill
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Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of W
Sir Martin Sorrell founded WPP in 1985 (Source: Getty)

Sir Martin Sorrell, the founder and chief executive of WPP, has defended his £63m pay package.

Sorrell was a victim of the so-called shareholder spring in 2012, with 60 per cent of WPP shareholders rejecting his £6.8m pay that year. There was also a repeat in 2014 when 28 per cent voted against his remuneration package.

It has been suggested that 2016 could see a new shareholder spring after 59.29 per cent of BP shareholders voted against chief executive Bob Dudley's $19.6m (£13.8m) pay packet last week.

Read more: Pay revolt grows after Dudley gets a bloody nose

Sorrell is likely to take home close to £70m, with his salary, short-term bonus and pension added to the £63m share package.

Asked if he feared another shareholder revolt at WPP's annual general meeting (AGM) in June, Sorrell told the Press Association: "We have shareholder votes every year. It is what it is. Shareholders will decide. It's very democratic. We're always engaged with shareholders with anything and everything."

He added: "Most of my wealth, if not all of it, is and has been for the last 31 years tied up in the success of WPP. So if WPP does well, I do well, and others in the company do well. If we do badly, we suffer."

He pointed to the fact the company's market cap has grown by around £10bn in the past four or five years, adding that he makes "no apologies" for having a successful company.

Read more: WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell: "Don't underestimate Trump"

Sorrell was also quizzed on the prospect of a so-called Brexit, which he has previously spoken out against.

He suggested a UK vote to leave the EU would see jobs lost to other European countries.

Sorrell said: "If we're out of Europe we will lose influence in those markets and indeed in Brussels. So if we came out, we (WPP) would have to reassert our activities into continental Europe, we would invest more in continental Europe to establish a stronger presence."

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