WPP Pelts Gelt on Meyer

28 October 2004

Seventy-seven year old Ed Meyer, the Once and Future King of Grey Global Group, not only gets to keep his job after the takeover by Britain's WPP Group, he'll also be showered with gelt up to a maximum of $86.9 million (€68.11m; £47.31m) in cash.

This largesse was revealed in information filed last month by WPP with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Meyer, who despite his years is far from dotage, also collects a bonus of Grey stock and stock options, worth (at Wednesday's valuation) about $351 million. Clearly, unlike many septuagenarian Americans, he will not be relying on Medicare.

As to the cash side of things, Meyer's manna includes $51.8m (based on June 30 values) as "deferred compensation and supplemental pension". A further $22.7m accrues as a "settlement payment" for exchanging his old contract for a new one.

And lest the US taxman rains on Meyer's parade, there'll be another $12.4m for "golden parachute excise taxes" if the merger closes this year.

But with Ed, it isn't all take, take, take. He'll remain at the helm of Grey until at least December 2006 for a base salary of just $1m annually - a pittance compared with his former $3.65m.

Meyer is to be congratulated for finally achieving the goal that eluded generations of medieval alchemists. With a little help from the Wizard of WPP.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff