Wednesday, 13 June 2012

WPP Shareholders Vote Against £6.8m Pay Packet for Sir Martin Sorrell

THE GUARDIAN: Nearly 60% of disgruntled investors vote against the WPP directors' remuneration report

Sir Martin Sorrell has suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands ofWPP shareholders, with nearly 60% voting to reject his £6.8m annual pay packet at the company's annual general meeting in Dublin.

Sorrell, who received a 60% rise in total pay last year as well as a £5.6m windfall of shares under the company's leadership equity acquisitions plan, saw 59% of disgruntled investors fail to back the WPP directors' remuneration report at the AGM on Wednesday. A further 0.8% of votes were withheld, with the remainder in favour.

The WPP chief executive's showdown with investors is the latest in a series of clashes between UK publicly listed companies and shareholders over boardroom pay in what has been dubbed the "shareholder spring".

Sorrell's defeat is the sixth remuneration report to be rejected by shareholders this year, outstripping investor dissatisfaction in recession-racked 2009 when there were five. It is a record tally of defeats since the opportunity for shareholders to vote on the pay policies of UK public companies was introduced almost a decade ago.

The WPP chief executive, who founded the company in 1985, scoffed at the idea he might consider resigning in the wake of the defeat. » | Mark Sweney | Wednesday, June 13, 2012