Nice work if you can get it: WPP CEO Mark Read is expected to garner £3.7m in pay and bonuses for 2018 (a big chunk being a bonus for his former role as joint COO.) While ousted boss (and WPP founder) Sir Martin Sorrell is reckoned to be on track to gain a further £15m in share bonuses over the next few years although he left last year under what we might call a cloud (even if WPP doesn’t.)
It does rather make you wonder what you have to do at WPP not to get a bonus.
Read (below) may have done a good job in steadying the ship and beginning a process of rationalising the holding company’s many agencies (the jury’s out on that one) but WPP’s shares are still bumping along the bottom, valuing the once high-flying company at about £11.7bn, way below the peaks it reached before 2016.
CEO pay is rather like footballers’ pay. They don’t necessarily need or deserve the money but want parity with those they regard as their peers. If Read had not received his bonuses then he would have lagged WPP’s best-paid former employee, which would have been embarrassing to put it mildly. Sorrell’s various bonuses (the current pay-out is supposed to be part of a more modest scheme) are worthy of a book of their own: amounting to some £200m.
WPP’s Q1 2019 results are on due on Friday (April 26.) One might assume from the above that they’ll be better than expected. Publicis’ Q1 results were disappointing with a drop in organic growth. Read said last year he expected growth to be below par this year but maybe he has a surprise up his sleeve.
Publicis replacing WPP on the ad holding company naughty step would be greeted with some delight at WPP’s new South Bank HQ.