Sir Martin Sorrell to receive £20m payout despite WPP shareholder rebellion

Sir Martin Sorrell will receive a £20m payout after a majority of WPP shareholders backed the advertising firm’s pay report.

The company’s founder left suddenly eight weeks ago following allegations of misconduct, which he denies. Further allegations later emerged in The Wall Street Journal that a WPP investigation had looked into claims he used company funds to pay for a sex worker. Sir Martin denies the claims.

Despite a shareholder rebellion, the company’s remuneration report survived a vote at an annual general meeting on Wednesday. A total of 29.5 per cent of shareholders did not back the report, which included the £20m payout to Sir Martin. Around 16 per cent of investors rejected the re-election of chairman Roberto Quarta.

Two influential shareholder advisory groups – Glass Lewis and PIRC – had recommended investors vote against the report.

The advertising boss left WPP suddenly in April following an internal investigation by WPP into allegations of wrongdoing. Neither the details of the investigation nor its findings have been revealed, which has fuelled speculation.

A spokesperson for the former WPP boss said on Sunday: “Sir Martin signed a non-disclosure agreement when he stepped down, which precludes him from discussing any of the circumstances surrounding his departure. He has rigidly adhered to this obligation and will continue to do so.

“As regards the allegations which have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Sir Martin strenuously denies them. He will be making no further comment at this time.”

Sir Martin founded WPP 33 years ago, building it into one of the world’s largest advertising groups.

Weeks after sensationally resigning, he announced his return to the advertising world with a new venture called S4 Capital.

WPP chairman Mr Quarta has faced criticism for failing to implement a non-compete clause in Sir Martin’s contract, which would have prevented him from setting up a new advertising firm.

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