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It’s a score draw for WPP’s Sorrell at Dublin shareholders’ meeting – so that’s a win then

Just over 60 per cent of WPP shareholders voted against WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s pay deal at today’s AGM in Dublin – roughly in line with pre-match predictions.

But anyone expecting fireworks would have been sorely disappointed (which is why we weren’t there, of course).

Whether or not Sir Martin is worth his £13m pay package depends on what view you take of these things: on the plus side the company is performing well and Sorrell’s pay isn’t out of line with his (international) peer group. On the other he does rather seem to want it both ways; big rewards for share performance but also a big (ish) basic salary plus generous perks.

The real issue for WPP shareholders is, ‘what happens after Sorrell?’

As yet there’s no news on this. One thing that has emerged from these shareholder shenanigans (if such they are) is that the WPP board is a touch lightweight, chairman Phil Lader and remuneration committee chairman Jeffrey Rosen don’t seem to cut much mustard with the investors.

Sorrell probably needs to anoint an heir apparent, or, at least, a COO. After all, he’s got £150m or so invested in the business. I suspect that’s the one question that just might faze one of the world’s most unfazed businessmen.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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