WPP confirms Mark Read as new chief executive
WPP has confirmed Mark Read as the advertising giant’s new chief executive, who will be paid a much lower salary than his predecessor Sir Martin Sorrell.
Read, 51, will be paid an annual salary of £975,000, with an annual bonus of up to 250 per cent of salary (at least 40 per cent of which must be deferred into shares for two years).
The former Wunderman global chief executive will also receive a performance-related bonus (LTIP award) of 350 per cent of salary, with performance measured over a fiveyear period, and a cash allowance of 20 per cent of salary.
Sorrell had attracted notoriety beyond the ad industry for being the highest-paid chief executive in the FTSE 100. Last year he was rewarded £13.9m, but in previous years was paid £48.1m (2016) and £70.4m (2015).
WPP chairman Roberta Quarta said the company’s board carried out a “rigorous selection process” of internal and external candidates to replace Sorrell, who quit abruptly in April following allegations of misconduct, which he has always denied.
Since Sorrell’s exit, Quarta appointed Read and Andrew Scott as interim leaders under the title joint chief operating officers.
Scott, who was previously chief operating officer of WPP Europe, will continue in the role of chief operating officer of WPP on a permanent basis.
The company’s share price did not move significantly in the hour following the announcement, reflecting that the news was widely expected.
Ian Whittaker, media analyst at Liberum, described Read’s appointment as a “positive”.
“He comes with the advantages of having run one of the major units [Wunderman] and of knowing WPP extensively, as well as being known to the markets in his previous role as deputy chief executive,” he said.
“Moreover, in the past several months during his tenure as joint chief operating officer, the group has won a number of major contracts, including two major recent wins at Mars and Mondelez, and taken steps to reduce the net debt level by selling off minority stakes in several businesses.”
Quarta said of Read: “That [selection] process, alongside Mark’s wise and effective stewardship of the business in the last few months, left us with no doubt that he is the right leader for this company.”
Cut price: Read will receive a much lower salary than his predecessor