A third of shareholders failed to vote for the £70m pay package of Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising and marketing giant WPP, at the company’s annual general meeting.
During a vote on WPP’s remuneration policy, 34% of shareholders declined to back the plan.
A statement from Hermes Investment Management before the meeting said: “We appreciate that a new remuneration policy was approved by shareholders in 2013 and that the legacy plan only has one more year to run.
“Nonetheless, we are highly uncomfortable with the 2015 quantum, not least in light of our historic concerns about board composition and the remuneration committee’s apparent lack of vigour and stress-testing when the legacy plan was devised.”
Hermes said it nonetheless recognised the company’s strong performance under Sir Martin and added: “While we acknowledge that the current chair of the remuneration committee did not conceive the legacy equity plan, we urge him to draw the right lessons from the controversy around executive pay at WPP in recent years.
“Only then can the trust of internal and external stakeholders in the effectiveness of WPP’s board and its remuneration committee be restored.”
WPP redrew its long-term incentive scheme after a shareholder revolt in 2012, which saw 60% vote against the then pay policy.
ShareAction, the responsible investment charity, dubbed Sir Martin “brilliant but greedy”.