The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum has advised its 70 member funds to vote against WPP’s remuneration report, which recommends that WPP’s CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell, receives £70.4m in payment this year.
The vote, taking place on 8 June at WPP’s AGM, will ask shareholders to approve a pay package for Sorrell that has increased by 56 per cent over the last five years. The LAPFF says that this represents twice the year-on-year average increase in the company’s total shareholder return (TSR) over the same period. The ratio between his pay and the average employee’s pay is 196:1.
LAPFF chair Kieran Quinn said: “Most shareholders will, in the main, accept what they consider a reasonable level of pay for performance. However, with WPP, we consider there are several aspects of the payment which do not reflect this, and we are advising our member funds to oppose the remuneration report on this basis.”
Sorrell’s total variable pay represents more than 58 times his £1.15m salary, which is the highest of the sector peer group and in the top 10 highest CEO salaries of the FTSE 100.
Responsible Investment charity ShareAction has condemned Sorrell’s pay packet, calling it “an insult to savers”.
ShareAction chief executive Catherine Howarth said: “Sir Martin Sorrell is a brilliant but greedy individual, whose pay regularly brings his company, and big companies as a whole, into disrepute. That’s bad news for the entire system upon which UK private pensions depend. £70m for a year’s work is an outrageous sum and shareholders should vote it down at the AGM.”