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WPP CEO Martin Sorrell: He's Rich. You Suck.
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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For PR pros and creatives not in the know, Martin Sorrell (the sketchy...er, sketched man here) owns PR and advertising — not a few firms, but pretty much the entire friggin' industry. He is CEO of London-based WPP and proprietor of public relations juggernauts such as KMR Group, Hill & Knowlton, Ogilvy, Y & R, JWT and my alma mater Burson-Marsteller. 

As a nubile flack, I became familiar with Sorrell's global takeover while at BM. I think it's important to know the icons in this beloved profession such as Bernays, Edelman, Burson, Ogilvy, and now Sorrell. That said, it's safe to presume the guy is rich. You know, in the way Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and the widow Jobs don't make it rain...they cause torrential downpours. Often hurricanes. 

And now, with the advertising and PR industries gaining momentum in this economy, the dude wants an exorbitant raise of 60 percent! You can imagine WPP shareholders rose quite a kerfuffle over his desire for a little more cash. Many have shared the news with Sorrell that they plan on voting against said fleecing. To wit, according to the Financial Times, he penned a rebuttal — a selfish, juvenile, I-gotta-paid-because-I-haven't-made-a-down-payment-on-the-Hope-Diamond-Yet rebuttal:

"I find the controversy over my compensation deeply disturbing," [he grumbled.] "The board's compensation decisions are right because they reward performance, not failure, reject options in favor of a long-term incentive scheme with co-investment and five-year performance periods, and are competitively fair against our big U.S. and French competitors, which we consistently outperform." 

That's nice, Sir Martin. Oh, did I mention the dude makes roughly $10.5 million USD (6.8 million however you make that goofy pound sign). So, 60 percent more than that? Carry the one...multiply by this...and it looks like...well, a whole lot of friggin' money! And he wants more because he's successful. Well, I can assure you there are thousands of people in WPP companies that are successful as well and I don't believe Sorrell is passing along the payoff that way. 

Perhaps a better question is, how much would it cost WPP to lose him? Because if any schmuck can do his gig, I would recommend directing him to the nearest McDonald's, save some coin, and go buy another blossoming agency.


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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