WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell earns £36m under 2014 share plan

WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell earned more than £36m ($53 million) in 2014 under the group's long-term incentive plan, the company announced this morning.

Sir Martin Sorrell: Total pay likely to exceed £40m in 2014
Sir Martin Sorrell: Total pay likely to exceed £40m in 2014

He was given more than 2.3 million shares worth a total of £36.04m under the controversial Leap share scheme.

The Leap payments are based on WPP’s performance between 2010 and 2014, during which time the firm’s market cap increased 133 per cent, from $7.66bn (£5.18bn) to $10.17bn (£6.88bn). The FTSE100 rose 21.3 per cent over this time.

WPP’s share price more than doubled in value from £7.25 in 2010 to £15.49 last year.

The firm – whose PR agencies include Finsbury, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Burson-Marsteller and Ogilvy – also achieved "strong outperformance" against 12 competitor companies. WPP chairman Philip Lader said the payments were "aligned" with the £12.8bn growth in shareholder value over the period.

Sorrell’s total pay is likely to exceed £40m in 2014 when his basic salary and short-term incentives are included.

Leap was approved in 2009 but revoked three years later after shareholders voted against it. However, the scheme will continue to operate until 2016.

Sorrell's 2013 pay package of £29.8m, a rise of 70 per cent, came in for criticism by some shareholders at WPP’s annual general meeting last June. His latest remuneration is likely to be scrutinised further at this year’s AGM.

A think-tank report from last August found that Sorrell earned roughly 780 times more than his average worker in 2013, who gets £38,000. It was the second highest pay differential of any FTSE100 company.

In 2012 59.5 per cent of WPP shareholders voted against the firm’s remuneration report in opposition to Sorrell’s 2011 pay package, which totalled £12.9m.

Last week WPP’s PR and public affairs group reported a 2.5% like-for-like increase in revenue in 2014 to $1.3bn (£0.88bn).

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