Jens Monsees buys 420,000 WPP AUNZ shares for $98,700

WPP AUNZ CEO Jens Monsees has acquired an additional 420,000 shares in the company, paying a total of $98,700, or 23.5c per share. The business’ current share price is 22c, tumbling from a 52-week high of 69c.

Monsees now holds 600,000 ordinary shares in the company, having already held 180,000, and has a further 2,769,572 share rights, according to the document filed with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) this morning.

Since the CEO forfeited bonuses and other entitlements at his former employer – BMW Germany – by accepting the WPP AUNZ role, he received a one-time grant of rights of $1.5m in WPP AUNZ shares, as revealed in the company’s annual report, to vest in three equal tranches at the end of 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Monsees’ fixed salary of $1.5m is boosted by short- and long-term incentives, which take the form of cash, shares, and options. From this year, his first full year in the leadership position he began last October, Monsees will become eligible for annual bonuses (known as short-term incentives) ranging from between 0 and 150% of his $1.5m salary, with a target of 50% and a maximum payable of 150%. These bonuses will be comprised of half cash and half performance shares.

Monsees will also be entitled to long-term incentives between 0 and 100% of his salary in rights or options to vest over three years, with a target of 50% and a maximum of 100%.

In addition, he received a one-off payment of $250,000 last year in lieu of a performance-based bonus, and can bill the business up to $250,000 per year for his children’s education and one annual trip back home to Germany for him and his family.

Monsees presenting at his first WPP AGM earlier this month

However, his total salary package will no doubt be impacted this year as the holding company grapples with the significant impacts of COVID-19. Executives were the first to be asked to take a voluntary pay cut, before that request was extended to the wider WPP AUNZ team. Pay rises will also be significantly reduced this year at the company.

Accepting a pay cut, using annual leave, or moving to four-day weeks or nine-day fortnights is driving WPP AUNZ’s $70m cost savings program.

Monsees told Mumbrella earlier this month there had been a “very strong response” to the call out, but emphasised the importance of being sensitive and flexible to each employee’s unique financial circumstances.

“Everybody is in a different situation. Sometimes there are families that have to pay mortgages or they are couples where the partner lost the job, so we have to be very sensitive and careful with our staff and therefore we decided with the management team that we actually put a kind of menu out,” he said in an interview following the company’s annual general meeting, in which a potential $10m half-year loss was flagged.

“We said ‘Hey. We need to reduce our cost base due to the reduced … work and therefore you can participate in many ways. If it is unpaid leave, nine out of 10 days, or four out of five days, if it is a salary cut. We also said that the people who are on awards should not participate because they are at the lower end of the income [scale].”

Clients in sectors decimated by COVID-19 have shrunk marketing spend to survive, resulting in redundancies at WPP AUNZ agencies responsible for such accounts, with potentially more job losses to come. Monsees couldn’t specify how many more jobs may be cut.

The onslaught of COVID-19 will also accelerate the implementation of the transformation strategy announced earlier this year, Monsees said, which included the launch of the ‘Centre of Excellence’ this month.

WPP AUNZ agencies include Mediacom, White Grey, Wunderman Thompson, Wavemaker and Mindshare.


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