WPP's Sorrell Was UK's Highest Paid Director in 2004

05 August 2005

Sir Martin Sorrell, ceo of the globe's second largest agency holding company WPP Group, clearly put in a lot of overtime last year - or so the contents of his pay packet suggest.

With total emoluments north of £52 million ($93m; €76), Sorrell topped the list of Britain's flabby felines - thanks mainly to the maturation of a long term incentive plan.

Among other media movers and shakers coining the cash is the currently unemployed Tony Ball, former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB.

Ball, whose immaculate stewardship of the satellite broadcaster provided a soft landing for incoming ceo James Murdoch, is now sunning himself and doing zilch - courtesy of a two-year non-compete agreement with BSkyB that last year paid him £10.7m.

The majority of big earners, however, earned their crusts outside the media trade. Other high rollers included Jean-Pierre Garnier of pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline; James Nicol of the engineering group Tomkins; and David Harding of bookmaking giant William Hill.

Best-paid woman was Judi Johansen, a US national who ran the stateside arm of Scottish Power before its sale to billionaire investor Warren Buffett. In number two slot on the distaff side is Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of publishing and information group Pearson.

Directors' pay at Britain's top companies soared by an average of 16.1% last year - growth four times that of average earnings and eight times the rate of inflation.

Average pay for a chief executive, including bonuses and gains from long-term incentive plans, now exceeds £2.5m.

Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff