Wednesday 28 September 2016

WPP's Sorrell faces pay backlash at shareholder meeting

Parikshit Mishra

Published 07/06/2016 | 02:30

WPP Group Chief Executive Officer Martin Sorrell speaks at the Global Investment Conference 2012 in London July 26, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall
WPP Group Chief Executive Officer Martin Sorrell speaks at the Global Investment Conference 2012 in London July 26, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall

The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), an association of 70 UK-based public sector pension funds, asked its members to vote against advertising giant WPP's remuneration report at the firm's annual meeting, citing "excessive" payments offered to its chief executive.

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PIRC, an advisory firm and LAPFF's research partner, asked WPP shareholders last week to oppose chief executive Martin Sorrell's pay, while Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) asked the shareholders last month to accept it.

Mr Sorrell's pay increased by 56pc over the past five years to £70.4m (€89m), which is twice the year-on-year average increase in the company's total shareholder return over the same period, LAPFF said yesterday.

The forum said Sorrell's total variable pay was more than 58 times his £1.15m (€1.46m) salary, which is the highest of the sector peer group and in the top 10 highest ceo salaries of the FTSE 100.

"Martin Sorrell's remuneration is derived from the formulaic application of long-term co-investment scheme approved by an 83pc vote in favour by shareholders in 2009," a WPP spokesman told Reuters. "The company does not comment on individual shareholder advisory bodies' recommendations, he said.

Some other big British companies have also faced shareholder opposition to executive pay packages this year in a resurgence of investor activism against excessive boardroom salaries.

In April BP shareholders voted against chief executive Bob Dudley's pay deal after the company made a record annual loss. WPP's annual general meeting is to be held on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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