WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell is the best paid FTSE 100 CEO. His payout of 43 million pounds in 2014 put him 23.5 million ahead of the next best compensated chief exec, Ben Van Beurden of Royal Dutch Shell. The only person able to outdo Martin Sorrell, it would seem, is Martin Sorrell himself. Over the last five years, his payouts from WPP have been steadily increasing. In 2015, his remuneration is expected to hit a huge 70 million pounds. This would be one of the highest CEO payouts in UK history, second only to the 92 million in shares and cash given to Bart Brecht in 2009 when he was in the Reckitt Benckiser hot seat.
While Sorrell's salary is 'only' 1.15 million, this gets topped up by share awards and cash bonuses. The anticipated 70 million payout for 2015 will be made through a long-term bonus scheme called Leap - leadership acquisition plan. A bonus is calculated based on the basis of the company's performance over the previous five years. Sir Sorrell, looking to defend his bumper payout ahead of this years annual shareholder meeting, referred not only to the last five years but right back to the beginning of WPP:
“[In1985] WPP capitalised at 1 million pounds. Today the company is capitalised at 21 billion pounds...I’m not a Johnny come lately. I've not picked up a company and turned it round. If it was one five-year plan and we buggered off, fine. Over those 31 years…I have taken a significant degree of risk...it is long effort over a long period of time."
The full extent of the payout is due to be confirmed in WPP's annual report in the summer.
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