Sorrell Awards Himself 14% Pay Rise

07 June 2005

Some might say Sir Martin Sorrell, principal architect and chief executive of the globe's second largest marketing services company, deserves a 14% pay rise.

Others would chorus "amen to that", given that Sorrell and his lieutenants last year delivered to WPP Group shareholders a 15% hike in pretax profits to £546 million ($989.30m; €809.11m).

But whatever views might pertain about the self-feathering of nests, Sir Martin increased his own bonus entitlement from £1.26m in 2003 to £1.55m last year, according to WPP's annual report.

His basic salary of £840,000 was unchanged, although a grateful WPP added a further £321,000 to Sorrell's pension fund. And his personal shareholding in the company is valued at £92 million at current market prices.

Nor has largesse been denied other WPP directors. Collectively, the WPP board paid itself £5.19m in 2004, up year-on-year by nine per cent. Philip Lader, part-time chairman and former US ambassador to the UK, collected £213,000.

However, it's not all take, take, take.

The annual report revealed that Sir Martin is also in giving mode, relinquishing as from September his two-year rolling contract in return for a new "at will" agreement that conforms with best practice guidelines.

Under the new deal, Sorrell would not be entitled to any special compensation if WPP is taken over. But not only is such an event more remote than Alpha Centauri, a takeover would be manna from heaven to one whose personal shareholding is close to £100m.

[Now, that's a subject for a cosy chat with Vincent Bolloré.]

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff