Sorrell vs shareholders; Chevron spits the dummy;
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
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Sorrell vs shareholders; Chevron spits the dummy;

Paul Holmes

You may not agree with Sir Martin Sorrell's 60 percent pay hike, but there is plenty to admire in the manner in which he has confronted the issue. Unlike his better-remunerated peers at other listed companies, Sorrell this week took to the FT to defend his raise. On the face of it, Sorrell's package is difficult to justify given WPP's share price performance last year, but he is surely correct to note that he is paid less than the likes of John Wren and Maurice Levy. Fundamentally, though, Sorrell's dismissal of genuine shareholder concerns is a little worrying, given the wider context in which it occurs. One of Sorrell's agencies, meanwhile, has found itself at the sharp end of a particularly impulsive decision by client Chevron. Ogilvy Government Relations has been fired by the oil company, after it emerged that an Ogilvy PR staffer had made a presentation to Amazon Watch, an NGO that is embroiled in litigation with the client. The catch? That the the Ogilvy PR staffer met the NGO on his personal time - although does that really matter in this day and age? It seems to me that this story is less about conflict and more about accepting that clients (or, more accurately, their CEOs) can make impetuous, inexplicable decisions. This story examines North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's new public relations offensive, which attempts to cast the leader as a less reclusive character than his late father. Surely it is only a matter of time before some enterprising PR firm takes on what would presumably be a very lucrative global reputation brief for the 'Supreme Leader'? A more proactive public relations approach by China sovereign wealth fund CIC? Perhaps. Famously media-shy, CIC may want to adopt a less hectoring tone if it hopes to convince European audiences of the merits of its argument. Not unrelated is Will Moss' insightful analysis of China's soft-power missteps over this week's air-quality debate.
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