WPP shareholders revolt against CEO pay hike

DUBLIN, June 13 Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:03am EDT

DUBLIN, June 13 (Reuters) - Shareholders at the world's largest advertising agency WPP gave a thumbs down to a big pay rise for Chief Executive Martin Sorrell on Wednesday with 59.5 percent of votes at its AGM opposing the group's remuneration report.

A number of advisory groups and leading shareholders at WPP had criticised a proposed 60 percent increase in Sorrell's pay because it far exceeds the scale of returns enjoyed by investors.

Sorrell has argued that he deserves his 6.8 million pound ($10.48 million) pay for turning WPP into the world's leading advertising group with more than 160,000 employees across 108 countries.

The revolt - the latest attack on executive pay in what has become known as a "Shareholder Spring" - came as WPP said it had made a strong start to the year with operating profit both above budget and above last year's level.

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