WPP share price: opposition to Sorrel’s £43m pay mounts ahead of AGM

on Jun 2, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

As British ad giant WPP Plc (LON:WPP) prepares to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on June 9, there is significant discontent amongst some shareholders concerning the proposed pay package of £43 million for chief executive Martin Sorrel.

Shareholder advisory groups Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis criticised Sorrel’s compensation as “wholly excessive” and “extremely outsized”, with Glass Lewis advising shareholders to vote against the company’s remuneration proposals.
WPP’s had share price lost 0.39 percent to 1,546.00p as of 11:58 BST today, outperforming the FTSE 100 which had slid about one percent. The company’s stock has gained more than 17 percent year-to-date and reached an all-time high of 1,616p in April.
The bulk of Sorrell’s pay came in the form of £36 million in shares that were awarded as part of WPP’s long-term incentive plan. It also included a basic salary of £1.15 million, plus pension and other benefits of £2.2 million, with short-term incentives of £3.56 million.
The company has defended the record-breaking pay package, which stands in stark contrast to the average of £5.04 million for a FTSE 100 boss, citing Sorrel’s ‘exceptional’ performance.
“More than 90 percent of Martin’s compensation was performance based,” a WPP spokesman said as quoted by Bloomberg. The majority was from the five-year Leap scheme, with 19 million pounds of that from share price performance and dividends. Total share return over that time rose 171.5 percent, he said.
Sorrel’s pay has soared significantly in recent years. The proposed 2014 compensation is a 44 percent increase on the previous year, which itself saw a seventy percent leap in his pay form the year before.
Nearly a quarter of the group’s investors have either voted against its remuneration report or abstained at the last two meetings.
As of 12:56 BST, Tuesday, 02 June, WPP PLC ORD 10P share price is 1,545.00p.