WPP to face investor backlash over chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell's £48m pay

Shruti Tripathi Chopra
Follow Shruti
Winning: Sir Martin Sorrell and Sir Ben Ainslie - Advertising Week Europe
Sir Martin Sorrell is the best-paid FTSE 100 chief executive (Source: Getty)

WPP, the world's largest advertising agency, will likely face an investor revolt this week over its chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell’s pay.

About a quarter of shareholders are expected to protest against the FTSE 100’s best-paid chief executive’s remuneration on 7 June.

Sorrell received £48.1m in total remuneration last year, down 31.6 per cent from the £70.4m he received in 2015.

The drop was attributed to the value of his long-term incentive scheme, known as Leap, falling dramatically.

Sorrell’s pay from Leap fell from £62.8m to £41.6m while his short-term performance related pay was also down from £4.28m to approximately £3m.

Read more: Martin Sorrell warns Google and Facebook over fake news and brand safety

​Last year, some 34 per cent of WPP shareholders voted against Sorrell’s 2015 pay package.

A WPP spokesperson declined to comment on the likely outcome of voting levels.

He told City A.M.: “All of the historic long-term schemes were wholly performance-related and required the executive to put significant skin in the game rather than being one way options.

“All were approved by shareholders by overwhelming majorities when introduced.

“The EPSP [executive performance share plan] with a reduced opportunity was approved by shareholders at the 2013 AGM and given its five-year cycle we won’t see its first outcome until March 2018 in respect of WPP’s performance for the period to 31 December 2017.”

In April, WPP reported that “the weakness of sterling against the US dollar, the euro and other major currencies” helped drive an increase in revenue during the first quarter of 2017.

Revenue increased 16.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter, to £3.6bn, while on a constant currency basis it rose 3.6 per cent.

The company reported $2.1bn (£1.6bn) of new business in the quarter, compared with $1.8bn in the same period of last year.

Sorrell scaled the advertising group from a two-man operation in a London office in 1985 to one that now employs around 134,000 staff in more than 100 countries.

Related articles