WPP chief Sorrell receives £23m incentive payout

Payout relates to performance between 2009 and 2013

WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell has consistently defended his pay. Photograph: Alan Betson

WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell has consistently defended his pay. Photograph: Alan Betson

Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 01:00

It’s been a tough 12 months for Sir Martin Sorrell, but £22.7 million(€27 million) in shares should help. Mr Sorrell, the chief executive of advertising group WPP, received 1.78 million in company shares last month under the company’s long-term incentive plan (LEAP).

In 2012, a shareholder revolt at his annual pay of £17.6 million led WPP to scrap the plan, but historic entitlements were not affected. The news comes 10 days after lower-than-expected margins triggered a sharp fall in WPP shares.

The LEAP payout referred to Mr Sorrell’s performance between 2009 and 2013. During that period WPP shareholders saw total returns of about 230 per cent.

That was better than the performance of rival Omnicom, whose total returns were 180 per cent, but worse than those of Publicis, whose shareholders were up more than two and half times.

Mr Sorrell, who also received £5 million in shares recently under a separate entitlement, has consistently defended his pay. “I find the controversy over my compensation deeply disturbing,” he wrote in the FT in 2012.

“The board’s compensation decisions . . . are competitively fair against our big US and French competitors, which we consistently outperform.”

A merger between Omnicom and Publicis, which is expected to be completed this year, would displace WPP as the largest marketing services group by revenues.

– (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014)