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Why WPP's Chairman Is Probably NOT Resigning Over Martin Sorrell's Pay

Jim Edwards

Martin Sorrell

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Martin Sorrell

The Sunday Times of London has suggested that longtime WPP chairman Phil Lader will tell investors at WPP's annual meeting on Wednesday that he will resign next year after facing criticism that WPP CEO Martin Sorrell's pay package is too big.

As the Business Insider Advertising Rich List notes, Sorrell earned $27 million last year, and he is the No. 1 best-paid man in advertising, ranked by annual income. He's frequently criticized over the size of his compensation.

But it is extremely unlikely that Lader is resigning because he dislikes Sorrell's remuneration, for a couple of reasons.

philip lader chairman


Philip Lader

First, Lader announced he would retire in 2014 several weeks ago, on page 117 of WPP's annual report.

Second, he's been on Sorrell's board since 2001, and has seen successive Sorrell pay packages pass both the board of directors and withstand several shareholder rebellions. If he was annoyed at Sorrell's pay, it's a rather late showing.

Third, Lader is 67. He's retiring, not protesting.

Shareholders will continue to protest Sorrell's pay, of course. But Lader won't be among them.

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