Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2015

Sir Martin Sorrell Earns Half of WPP’s Payout to 17 Top Execs Causing Much Gnashing of Teeth

WPP paid its 17 executives a total of $117 million, including Sorrell's $53 million.

Sir Martin Sorrell

CEO of the world’s biggest advertising company WPP plc. Sir Martin Sorrell earned more than $53 million last year under what many call a controversial deal.

Sorrell’s earnings are by far the biggest of the total $117 million WPP paid its 17 executives a total of $117 million, including Sorrell’s $53 million.

That’s gotta’ burn.

Sorrell, 70, was born in London to a Jewish family whose ancestors came from Russia, Poland and Romania. He was knighted in 2000.

According to the Guardian, WPP’s big shareholders are not happy with this sweet deal, and there’s bound to be a major brouhaha at the company’s annual meeting in June.

WPP chairman Philip Lader defended the deal saying: “This senior management incentive compensation plan required substantial personal, long-term investment by the participants, exceptional corporate performance over five years, and was approved by an 83% supporting vote of share owners.”

This means that Sorrell put 416, 666 of his own WPP shares into the Leap plan in 2010, with the opportunity to make up to five times these shares in 2015, depending on WPP’s performance. He ended up collecting the maximum number of shares, and those—how lucky for him—have more than doubled in price from $10.75 to $22.97.

Lader pointed out that Sorrell’s bonanza reflected a $18.98 billion increase in shareholder value during the same period.

With this stunning pay, Sorrell’s earnings from WPP over the last five years stands at roughly $150 million, or, as the Guardian put it: his biggest payday since 2005 when he made $75 million.

So you know what to buy Sir Martin Sorrell for his next birthday: suitcases, lots of suitcases, for when he wants to take his money out on a walkie.

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