Should Sorrell go if he loses the vote next week?

Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg thinks fellow FTSE 100 CEO Sir Martin Sorrell should go if he loses the shareholder vote over his 30% pay rise at WPP’s annual general meeting next week.

Glasenberg told 550 guests at a London dinner of the Melbourne Mining Club last night: “I don’t know if Mr Sorrell will do it, but if I was him, to be honest, and my shareholders voted down my salary because they didn’t believe I was worth it, I think you’ve got to leave. You’ve got to resign.”

Paul Simons, well-known entrepreneurial adman and a former group chief of WPP subsidiary Ogilvy, thinks Sorrell would be mad to go – and shareholders even madder to send him packing (he has no contractual arrangement holding him in office, so he could quit tomorrow). Here’s what Paul, a contributor to these pages, has to say:

“I think the pressure on Martin Sorrell to back down on his proposed salary increase is a disgrace. He may not be everyone’s favourite person but he didn’t enter a popularity competition. He took the Americans on at their own game and won. Britain needs more people like him. The last thing we should be doing is forcing entrepreneurs like him to quit the UK because of entirely misplaced wimpiness about success. I think politicians are sailing into very turbulent waters on top-level rewards. They may be keen to win grass-roots support, but the cost of doing so will be very damaging to the economy.”

What do you think? And why? For those not wholly conversant with the nitty-gritty, there’s a useful crib in this earlier post.

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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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    Paul Simons says… “The last thing we should be doing is forcing entrepreneurs like him to quit the UK because of entirely misplaced wimpiness about success.” Well, Paul, you seem to have conveniently forgotten that Sorrell moved WPP Corporate Headquarters to Dublin to avoid UK taxes, this shortly after received his Knighthood for services to British industry. Somewhat of a double standard, dontcha think?

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    George you old dog, how I’ve missed your colourful presence over the years.
    For the record I’m not a WPP crony, far from it, but there are times when one needs to voice a pov.
    It’s less about Martin, more about the bandwagon of dissing business leaders over here. Not healthy in my view.
    Keep on ranting.