Omnicom boss John Wren received $20m in compensation in 2021

Omnicom chairman and chief executive, John Wren
Omnicom chairman and chief executive, John Wren

US agency group published pay packages after annual revenues jumped 10.2% in 2021.

Omnicom chairman and chief executive, John Wren, received total compensation of $20m (£15.1m) in 2021, according to a stock market filing published ahead of the company’s annual meeting of shareholders.

Wren’s annual base salary was $1m in 2021. The other $19m comprised an annual cash incentive award ($10.9m), based on the company’s 2021 performance, and a stock award ($8.1m). 

The ultimate value of the stock award will depend on long-term performance between 2021 and 2023, Omnicom pointed out in its filing.

Wren’s annual compensation package in 2020 was $11.1m, but that was calculated according to a new accounting methodology, which meant his stock award was moved to a different financial year. 

His 2020 package would have been worth $19.2m on a “hypothetical” basis, if it had been calculated by using the previous methodology, the filing explained for “informational purposes”.

Wren earned slightly less in 2020 because he waived 100% of his base salary for about six months at the start of the pandemic when the ad industry suffered a plunge in revenue and companies introduced temporary cuts.

The filing also shows that Daryl Simm, the recently appointed president and chief operating officer, received total compensation of $8.8m for 2021.

There were no pay figures for previous years for Simm, who was promoted from his position as the global chief executive of Omnicom Media Group and joined the parent company board last November.

Simm had a base salary of $975,000, he had an annual cash incentive award of $4.75m and received stock awards of $3m.

Omnicom has previously signalled that Simm is a leading potential candidate to succeed Wren, who has been CEO since 1997. 

Philip Angelastro, Omnicom’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, received total compensation of $9.7m in 2021, while Omnicom Digital CEO Jonathan Nelson received $6m and executive VP, general counsel and secretary Michael O’Brien $4.7m.

Omnicom stated in the document that 50% of the target annual cash incentive award is determined by a “peer metric”, which was based on Omnicom’s financial performance as compared to an industry peer group, including WPP, Publicis Groupe and Interpublic.

The other 50% of the incentive was split between Omnicom's own “performance metrics” (25%) and other “qualitative measures” (25%), which are described as “the response to Covid 19 challenges; diversity, equity and inclusion; and corporate values and integrity”. 

The stock awards also depend on performance versus the peer group.

According to its 2021 financial results, Omnicom grew organically by 10.2% as revenues bounced back from the slump of 2020.

At the time, Wren attributed growth to the wins the business had in 2021, including securing global remits from Philips, Mercedes-Benz and Home Depot.

Omnicom Media Group also landed British Airways’ global media account last November after bagging Chanel in October.

More recently, Omnicom announced it would withdraw from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine earlier this month. 

The agency group said it is working with local partners to dispose of all of its investment positions in Russia.

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