WPP, MDC Executives Take 2016 Pay Cuts

Company documents show that the CEO and CFO of both WPP and MDC Partners received less in total pay last year than in 2015. 

By comparison, the CEOs at both Omnicom Group and Interpublic Group earned millions more in total compensation last year. 

In the case of WPP, CEO Martin Sorrell took a roughly one-third reduction in total compensation. But don’t feel too badly for Sorrell; he won’t be standing in soup lines anytime soon.

His total compensation last year was more than 48 million British pounds (a little more than $62 million at today’s exchange rate), down from 70.4 million pounds ($91 million) in 2015. 

The reduction stems largely from windfall payments Sorrell earned from a long-term incentive compensation plan in 2015 that was no longer in effect last year. Shareholders weren’t thrilled with Sorrell’s outsized 2015 pay package: About one-third voted against (or abstained) in a non-binding ballot at last year’s annual meeting. 

WPP CFO Paul Richardson also took a pay hit, earning 9.3 million pounds ($12 million) last year, versus 11.5 million pounds ($14.9 million) in 2015. His long-term incentive pay was also down in 2016. 

At MDC, the firm noted in its proxy statement that no “named executive officers” received performance bonuses for 2016 and executives previously acknowledged that the firm’s organic revenue growth (2.3%) last year was disappointing. The firm’s net loss also widened to $47.9 million from $37.4 million in 2015. 

MDC CEO Scott Kauffman collected just over $1.2 million in total compensation last year, versus $3.26 million in 2015. Bonus and stock awards paid to him in 2015 were the big differences; he received neither this year. 

CFO David Doft earned total compensation of almost $822,000 last year, down from $1.22 million in 2015, when he earned a $575,000 bonus.


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