Belfast Telegraph

WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell in line to pick up £50m payout

Sir Martin Sorrell is facing a near 30% pay cut, but is still expected to pocket a cool £50 million when WPP publishes its annual report.

The advertising giant's chief executive has been awarded £41.56 million after securing a maximum payout from the firm's long-term incentive plan known as LEAP.

However, the award came in shy of the £62.8 million Sir Martin received in 2016 because around 40% less shares were invested into the latest maturing scheme.

Once his salary and bonuses are factored in, Sir Martin's total remuneration is likely to be close to £50 million - about £20 million short of the £70 million handed to him in 2015.

More than a third of WPP shareholders refused to back Sir Martin's pay deal at last year's annual general meeting that made him the best paid chief executive in the FTSE 100.

Prior to the meeting, the UK Shareholders' Association said there was "a history of excessive pay" at WPP.

It comes after Colin McLean, managing director of SVM Asset Management, warned last month that investor anger over hefty financial rewards will come to a head this year as nearly half of FTSE 100 firms face binding votes on pay.

Pay for the FTSE 100 chief executives has risen from an average of £1 million in 1998 to £4.3 million in 2015, far outstripping the growth in average earnings.

Travel giant Thomas Cook had to stomach an investor backlash in February after nearly a third of shareholders voted against a long-term management bonus scheme.

Banking giant Barclays is also said to be freezing its chief executive's salary and bonuses in an attempt to head off the kind of shareholder rebellion that is threatening a raft of top-flight firms.

However, Royal Dutch Shell and Rolls-Royce revealed on Thursday that they had dished out hefty pay rises to their top bosses despite delivering lacklustre results.

Shell's chief executive Ben van Beurden was handed a 54% hike in his pay package last year to 8.59 million euro (£7.5 million), as he was awarded a potential 4.4 million euro (£3.8 million) under a long-term shares bonus scheme.

But his annual bonus was cut by nearly a third to 2.4 million euro (£2.1 million) after Shell saw annual profits drop 8% to a worse-than-expected 3.5 billion US dollars (£2.9 billion) in 2016, a year in which it also axed another 2,200 jobs.

Rolls-Royce boss Warren East has landed a £916,000 bonus and will receive an £18,000 pay rise this year despite the aircraft engine maker posting its largest ever loss and one of the biggest in UK corporate history.

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.