Investors revolt over WPP exec pay

shard

The chief executive of advertising giant WPP had his £30m pay package challenged by shareholders for the second time in two years, it has been revealed.

During the company’s annual meeting, held yesterday at London’s Shard, 28% of shareholders failed to support Sir Martin Sorrell’s backward-looking remuneration report, whilst 27% rejected the company’s forward-looking remuneration policy. Both were passed, however, on the basis of proxy votes previously cast by WPP shareholder groups.

Sorrell’s pay soared by 70% in 2013, making him the highest paid executive in the FTSE 100. The company has reported a 7.6% rise in revenue so far this year, although its shares saw a slight drop yesterday, by 0.8% to 1238p yesterday.

This is not the first time that shareholders have rebelled over WPP pay. In 2012, 60% of shareholders refused to support its pay policy. Commenting on yesterday’s challenge, the departing chairman Phil Lader told City AM: “It is my personal view that it would be unfair if something that was put in place by 80% of the shareholders years ago and the arithmetic computation reaches a certain number, to turn to 12 of the senior executives and say ‘I’m sorry, but no longer is that applicable to you’. In fact that might even raise a legal issue.”

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