Global advertising giant WPP hiked chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell’s pay by 43 per cent for 2014, taking his awards to £43m and making him the best paid boss in the FTSE 100.
The payout comes after years of shareholder rebellions at the firm’s annual general meetings.
In 2012, a majority of shareholders voted against the 60 per cent rise in his pay packet – but back then, it amounted to £6.8m, a small fraction of his latest package.
In that year the firm’s share price fell 14 by per cent, while in 2014 it fell 2.5 per cent and has picked up sharply into 2015. Outgoing chairman Philip Lader heaped praise on Sorrell in his letter to shareholders.
“Few can match Sir Martin Sorrell in capturing media attention, coining a substantive phrase, or promoting their companies. He is indefatigable: never a trip or day without client meetings, keynotes at major forums, and social events to secure or strengthen client relationships,” Lader said. “His insights are sought in countless quarters, benefiting WPP’s and its constituent companies’ brands and bottom lines.”
“Our non-executive directors are unanimous in the view that Martin Sorrell is the best chief executive officer in this industry.” But Lader noted most of the pay is based on a long-term contract which left no room for discretion.
Meanwhile Sorrell, who built the company up to its current size, said shareholders should remember the long-term value he has added.
Shareholders will be able to voice their opinions at the annual general meeting in June.