WPP's shareholders approve payouts for top-level executives

WPP shareholders have backed the controversial executive incentive scheme that could see its group chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, receive up to £44 million over the next five years.

Despite substantial protest, with 15 per cent of shareholders voting against the scheme and 5 per cent abstaining, the plan was passed with 79.8 per cent of votes in favour, at last week's extraordinary general meeting.

In recent weeks, WPP has had to deal with concerns among shareholders about the deal, which will see as much as £112.5 million paid to Sorrell and 18 other executives, depending on how well the company performs.

The scheme, while similar to WPP's existing incentive plan, provoked alarm about the way WPP that structured the group of companies its performance would be measured against and about the size of Sorrell's payout.

WPP was also criticised for introducing the plan too quickly and without properly informing investors, although the company defended itself, saying it wrote to shareholders and held discussions with institutional share-owners.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).