WPP AUNZ annual report reveals Jens Monsees’ salary, bonuses and allowable expenses

WPP AUNZ CEO Jens Monsees has a fixed salary of $1.5m, received a one off payment of $250,000 in 2019 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, according to the company’s 2019 annual report.

Monsees’ total remuneration package also includes both short-term and long-term incentives, in the form of cash, shares, and options. However, it could be impacted this year; last week, the holding company announced it was asking key executives to take a voluntary cut in base salary in response to the business impacts of COVID-19.

Monsees addressed the pandemic in his letter contained within the report, which read: “As I write, we are yet to understand and quantify the full impact of the virus on the regional economy, our clients and our business. However, what has been evident as it unfolds, is the ability of our business to adapt to this new environment.”

Monsees’ CEO letter

WPP AUNZ has not been immune to the economic turbulence created by COVID-19. Its share price dropped to 20c today, compared to 55c at the start of the year, and 62c on 5 March.

WPP’s share price. Click to enlarge

WPP AUNZ added that salary increases will be significantly reduced this year, which may impact the payment of discretionary bonuses.

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

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With regards to long-term incentives, the CEO will also be entitled to between 0 and 100% of his fixed remuneration in rights or options to vest over three years, with a target of 50% and a maximum of 100%.

The report was clear that Monsees’ salary package matches his experience and the scope of a role that oversees WPP AUNZ’s portfolio of more than 60 brands.

“The Remuneration Committee undertook independent benchmarking for the CEO’s remuneration to offer a competitive remuneration level an an appropriately balanced remuneration mix for a high-calibre international executive who will lead not only in creative advertising, branding, communications and media, but also in technology, data, business transformation, and who will bring rich experience and client-side insights to the role at a time when the changing needs of WPP AUNZ clients are paramount,” read the report.

The split of key executives’ remuneration packages. Click to enlarge

Since Monsees forfeited bonuses and other entitlements at BMW in Germany by accepting the WPP AUNZ role, he also received a one-time grant of rights of $1.5m worth of WPP AUNZ shares, to vest in three equal tranches at the end of 2019, 2020 and 2021.

John Steedman, the holding company’s chief operating officer who acted as caretaker CEO between Mike Connaghan’s departure and Monsees’ commencement in the position, had a fixed remuneration of $950,000 in 2019.

He achieved above his target, earning a $150,000 bonus, of which half was paid in cash, the report reveals. The COO and CFO roles had no increase in fixed remuneration in 2019.

Steedman achieved above his target last year, leading to a short-term incentive of $150,000 half of which was paid in cash. Click to enlarge

The company’s remuneration structure has been reviewed to ensure it is in line with WPP AUNZ’s new local transformation strategy, unveiled by Monsees in February. Short-term incentives will continue in their current form, with all senior executives subject to half being allocated in share rights, subject to a two-year deferral.

Long-term incentives will change somewhat, moving to a three-year plan. Performance will be measured over the full three-year period, and be rewarded with a mix of both options and share grants.

The group-wide company share scheme introduced in 2018, in addition to annual share grants to leaders and partners, will not be offered this year. Instead, Monsees will have access to a discretionary pool of share rights he can allocate to any staff member for their “individual outstanding performance”.

The announcement of Monsees’ three-year plan for WPP AUNZ coincided with the business’ full-year results, which chair Robert Mactier said were “very disappointing” and driven by account losses in his letter as part of the report.

“At the headline level, our continuing business net sales were down 2.6% and our continuing businesses earnings before interest and tax were down 8.7%,” he wrote.

“This overall financial performance was clearly very disappointing and underscores the importance of, and need for, the significant change program we have embarked on.

“Our 2019 financial performance was impacted by internal factors and account losses within certain brands, overlayed by a challenging advertising and media market in our largest reporting segment, Global Integrated Agencies.”

The annual report also touched on the benefits of the Kantar sale, noted that 395 people were hired into permanent positions in the group last year (93% of whom passed probation), and stressed the importance of reaching its goal of a 50:50 gender split in senior roles by next year.

The company’s board. Click to enlarge

Last year, an Inclusion and Diversity Council was launched, chaired by Steedman. 58% of non-management roles are filled by women, while 22% of the board is female.

WPP’s gender representation. Click to enlarge


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