Martin Sorrell earns 780 times more than average WPP employee

Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP's founder and chief executive, earns nearly 780 times more than his average employee, according to a think tank report.

Sir Martin Sorrell: WPP's founder and chief executive
Sir Martin Sorrell: WPP's founder and chief executive

Sorrell earned almost £30 million last year, which is roughly 780 times more than his average worker, who gets £38,000. It is the second highest pay differential of any FTSE 100 company and was questioned by WPP shareholders at the company's annual general meeting.

The statistic was part of a report released today by the High Pay Centre, which is a non-party think tank that monitors pay gaps.

According to the report, FTSE 100 executives are now paid around 143 times more than their average employee. In 1998, FTSE 100 chief executives were paid only 47 times more than their average employee.

According to the latest study, the largest pay gap was at Randgold Resources, where the chief executive, Mark Bristow, earned £4.4 million compared with the average worker’s £2,968 salary. Many of Randgold Resources’ employees are miners in Africa, but the FTSE 100 company is registered in Jersey.

The clothing retailer, Next, had the third highest pay gap, with a multiple of 459, though this figure does not take into account that the company’s chief executive, Lord Simon Wolfson, donated his multimillion pound bonus to his staff.

The statistics were created using figures from the companies’ own annual reports and refer to the company-wide pay differential, as opposed to just comparing UK workers with their chief executives.

According to the High Pay Centre, the average FTSE 100 chief executive earned 174 times more than the average UK worker in 2013.

A spokesman for WPP commented that Sorrell's pay included money earned as part of a five-year incentive scheme that is dependent upon the performance of the company and requires shares to be pledged into the scheme.

Around £22.7 million of Sorrell's £29.8 total remuneration package was paid out of the long-term incentive scheme. Between 2009 and 2013, WPP was the seventh best performing FTSE 100 company and earned shareholders a 241 per cent return.

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