Martin Sorrell, the CEO of London-based WPP, is in line for a big pay bump, 60 percent to be exact.
Some WPP Shareholders are bristling at the raise and, according to a report in the Financial Times
, several plan to vote against the increase.
The shareholder revolt prompted Sorrell to defend himself in the pages of FT
. On Wednesday, he penned an op-ed
saying the tenor of the argument over CEO pay appears to have shifted from “undeserving bankers paid for failure and from payment for performance, to what is fair pay.”
“I find the controversy over my compensation deeply disturbing,” he wrote. “The board’s compensation decisions are right because they reward performance, not failure, reject options in favor of a long-term incentive scheme with co-investment and five-year performance periods, and are competitively fair against our big U.S. and French competitors, which we consistently outperform.”
Worrell also told the British government to tax him if it feels he is paid too much.
According to Business Insider’s Jim Edwards
, the FT
letter suggests Worrell is both “amused and angry” over the debate. “He used the words ‘invidious’ and ‘wounding’ in his op-ed—they're two of his favorite words,” Edward wrote.
WPP is the holding company for a number of advertising agencies, along with several PR firms, including Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy PR, and Burson-Marsteller.
Considering Sorrell equates his pay package to performance, it’s worth asking whether this titan of PR is outperforming his critics in the court of public opinion.