Advertising giant WPP is facing a shareholder revolt over its handling of the departure of former CEO Martin Sorrell, according to Reuters.
Almost one in three WPP shareholders neglected to support the board’s recent executive pay proposal and 17% opted not to support re-election of Roberto Quarta as chairman.
Sorrell left the marketing brand in April following an allegation of personal misconduct. He was allowed to leave with share awards worth millions of pounds and was not subject to a non-compete clause. Sorrell has already launched a new company operating in the same space as WPP.
The company has been criticised for failing to plan for Sorrell’s departure and that the former CEO was overpaid.
Quarta defended the board’s actions, saying they were sound from a governance and legal perspective but he accepted some investors were dissatisfied.
Quarta said: “I know that questions remain, but there is simply nothing further we can legally disclose.”
WPP is the world’s largest advertising group, with over 200,000 employees and ownership of agencies including Ogilvy, JWT and Finsbury. The company has come under pressure as online giants Google and Facebook dominate advertising.
WPP also faced shareholder disquiet in 2016 when the board sought to award him a £70m pay package. One in three investors refused to back the proposal.