Sorrell's pay fell more than 70%, WPP annual report reveals

WPP's former chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell was paid a (relatively) measly £13.9m by the company in 2017, its annual report shows.

His compensation fell 71% from 2016’s figure of £48.1m. It is less than a fifth of the £70.4m he earned in 2015, and the lowest figure since 2011, when he earned £11.9m.

Sorrell abruptly resigned from WPP on the evening of 14 April, following an internal investigation into allegations of personal misconduct.

Mark Read, chief executive of Wunderman and WPP Digital, and Andrew Scott, WPP corporate development director and chief operating officer, WPP Europe, were appointed as joint chief operating officers. They are running the company alongside chairman Roberto Quarta, who became executive chairman on a temporary basis.

More detailed figures in the report show that Sorrell received far less of the possible bonus he was entitled to than in previous year. He received no "short term incentive award" in 2017 – while in the previous two years he had received 86% and then 60% of the possible maximum.

Last year Sorrell received 73% of his possible "long term incentive award" – whereas in the previous three years, he had received 100% of this.

WPP’s share price has been on a downward trajectory since it peaked in February 2017. At its recent low point, on 23 March, the share price had fallen 42% from that high point.

Some analysts have speculated that Sorrell's exit could lead to WPP being broken up – but in a memo to WPP staff, Read and Scott said this did not make sense.

Writing in the report, Quarta said the board had "no hesitation" in appointing Read and Scott, and confirmed WPP was working with external search consultants on recruiting a new CEO.

He added that the "fundamentals of the business are strong", but acknowledged that "he world we inhabit is changing – and WPP is changing with it."

A strategic evolution for WPP was already underway, Quarta said, and would be "refined and accelerated" under the leadership of Read and Scott – saying only that further details would emerge later in the year.

This article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in