Former Cordiant Leaders Reaped Big Pay Days

NEW YORK The former chief executive of Cordiant Communica
tions Group, Michael Bungey, took in $1.2 million as a result of his termination last year, according to an annual report filed by the troubled holding company yesterday.

Bungey, who earned a salary of $1.1 million in 2002, also stands to gain about $166,000 from a consulting contract that extends until March 31, 2004.

WPP Group is preparing to buy beleaguered CCG, but is running into opposition from CCG’s largest shareholder, Active Value. The U.K. fund management company, which now owns enough shares to block the WPP acquisition, today raised its stake to nearly 26 percent.

The annual report also disclosed that Bill Whitehead, formerly regional president of the Americas for CCG’s Bates, received $1.3 million after he was ousted in May 2002. The 31-year Bates veteran earned a salary of $740,000 in 2001 and $180,000 for the first three months of last year.

CCG’s former chairman Charlie Scott, who stepped down at the end of February, will continue to receive his contractual benefits, including a $333,000 salary, until the end of this year, the annual report stated. Scott’s replacement Nigel Stapleton, who joined in March, earns the same salary for a two-day week and receives $3,330 for each additional day, according to papers recently circulated to shareholders.

CCG also revealed that it paid Jean de Yturbe about $570,000 after he relinquished his role as CCG deputy president in March.

CCG’s current top management, CEO David Hearn, finance director Andy Boland and Stapleton, recently came under fire from shareholders for renegotiating their contracts to reflect the state of the business.