Sorrell faces revolt over 3-year deal

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The Independent Online

Sir Martin Sorrell, the head of the WPP advertising group, is expected to become the latest corporate chief to come under attack for alleged "fat cat" infringements when he chairs the group's annual meeting today.

And a shareholders' gathering on Friday to approve the Kingfisher retail group's demerger of Kesa Electricals, could be the area for criticism of the contracts being handed out to Kesa executives.

The National Association of Pension Funds, which has led many of the shareholder "fat cat" rebellions this year, is objecting to Sir Martin's three-year contract. As he was paid more than £1.5m last year, he could collect as much as £4.5m if he were to be ousted.

An NAPF spokesman said: "The general move now is towards one-year rolling contracts or less, because the companies themselves are realising the need to keep their directors accountable. We are not suggesting that people on more than one-year contracts sit around doing nothing, but there is a risk that they could be rewarded when they don't perform."

When Sir Martin takes the chair at London's Savoy Hotel at midday today he is expected to head off confrontation by promising that the board's remuneration committee will review his contract in August, even though it was signed only last year.

His three-year deal could be replaced by a new incentive plan which conforms more closely with latest corporate governance thinking.

On Friday, in the slightly less salubrious surroundings of the Hilton London Paddington hotel in Praed Street, over Paddington station, Kingfisher will face opposition from the Association of British Insurers over the share options being given to executives moving from the main group to the demerged Kesa.

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