Omnicom's Wren Tops Agency Holding Company Pay League

13 May 2008

NEW YORK: As befits the helmsman of planet Earth's largest marketing services company, Omnicom Group chief executive officer John Wren topped the sector's remuneration league in 2007 with $10.4 million (€6.73m; £5.34m) in total compensation.

Based on recently filed proxy statements unearthed by Advertising Age magazine, second in line at the bank was Interpublic Group chairman/ceo Michael J Roth who took home $8.9m 

While WPP Group ceo Sir Martin Sorrell collected a mere $7.05m in salary and benefits. 

One step down the ladder, Omnicom's vp/chief financial officer Randall Weisenburger earned a comforting $8.1m in total compensation, almost doubling the rewards of his nearest cfo rival, Interpublic's Frank Mergenthaler.

But in terms of base salaries shorn of perks, the 2007 pecking order changes:

  1. Martin Sorrell (WPP) $2.0m
  2. Robert Lerwill (Aegis) $1.3m
  3. Maurice Lévy (Publicis) $1.2
  4. Michael J Roth (Interpublic) $1.13m
  5. John Wren (Omnicom) $1.0m
  6. Fernando Rodés Vilà (Havas) $0.98m
But these sums are mere petty cash compared to the cornucopia of cashed-in stock options which don't figure in the above payouts. Wren, for example, enriched himself in February by a further $10m-plus  thanks to this method of corporate backslapping.

Marketing services bosses, it seems, fare slightly better than their opposite numbers in other business sectors when it comes to base salaries.

According to a study released last month by executive-compensation research firm Equilar, S&P 500 companies saw median ceo pay increase by 3%, from $1m to $1.03m, between 2006 and 2007.

However, when perks were included, the balance was redressed with S&P 500 ceo compensation averaging $8.8m.

"Ceo pay growth has slowed down a bit, linked to economic conditions," comments Equilar spokesman Alexander Cwirko-Godycki. "Bonuses were down almost across the board in most industries."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff