Sir Martin Sorrell
Rank 2017

When asked to defend his £70m pay package last year, Sorrell replied: "I'm not embarrassed about the growth of the company from two people in one room in Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1985 to 190,000 people in 112 countries and a leadership position in our industry.” The former Saatchi & Saatchi finance director turned WPP from a small maker of supermarket baskets into the world's largest advertising group. After a £21.4m donation of shares in 2015 to his charitable foundation, he retains a WPP stake worth £385m – up £83m on last year. Those hefty pay packets, plus share awards and dividends, take Sorrell, 72, to £495m. He was named British chief executive of the year by Harvard Business Review in October.