Is WPP chief exec’s defense of his pay bump a bad PR move?

Martin Sorrell, the CEO of WPP, one of the world’s largest advertising and PR holding companies, is defending himself against criticism over a pay hike.

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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.

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