Anger over Sorrell pay deal

Sir Martin Sorrell
Sir Martin Sorrell

Advertising giant WPP has suffered a shareholder rebellion over boss Sir Martin Sorrell’s mammoth £70 million pay deal after a third of investors voted against the group’s executive pay plans.

WPP saw 33.4% of investor votes cast against its remuneration report ahead of the firm’s AGM in London amid concerns over Sir Martin’s controversial pay package, which has been branded “excessive” and “unacceptable”.

Including votes that were withheld, more athan 34% of shareholders failed to back the group’s pay policy for top bosses, although the final vote count is due later today.

A raft of shareholder groups and major investors in the firm have hit out at Sir Martin’s pay for 2015, which includes a £1.15m base salary and £62.8m in shares from a long-term incentive plan - making him the best paid chief executive in the FTSE 100.

While the group narrowly survived the vote at its AGM, with 66.6% backing the remuneration report, it marks its second major revolt over pay in four years.

The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) said ahead of Wednesday’s AGM it was against the “excessive payments offered to Sir Martin Sorrell”.

It added that the WPP head has seen his pay jump by 56% a year over the last five years, almost twice the year-on-year 28.8% average increase in total shareholder returns at the firm over the same period.

BP faced a humiliating shareholder rebellion over executive pay in April, when almost 60% of shareholders rejected a remuneration report, awarding CEO boss Bob Dudley £13.8m.