Omnicom’s Wren sees pay rise by a third to $24m

Omnicom had a pretty good year in 2014, escaping from the mooted $35bn merger with Publciis Groupe in rather better order than Publicis did and growing revenue by 5.7 per cent and net income by 11 per cent. The shares did OK too.

So it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see CEO John Wren’s ‘compensation’ (compensation for what, a Martian might ask) increase although a 33 per cent increase over 2013 – from $18.1m to $24m looks a bit toppy. Wren failed to secure the merger with Publicis (below), after all. He also received $83,000 in aircraft hours and a $9,120 ‘auto allowance.’

These days CEOs receive massive packages for making sure the wheels don’t fall off their corporate vehicles, justified, some say, by the risks involved. The average tenure is about five years. Wren, though, has been there for 18 years.

Which isn’t as long as rival Sir Martin Sorrell (about 30 years at WPP, the company he founded) or putative partner Maurice Levy at Publicis. Sorrell, of course, was thanked for his efforts on behalf of WPP with £36m ($53m) in mostly share awards.

Are these mavens worth it? Wren has proved a good manager at Omnicom, cutting his agencies more slack than Sorrell or Levy do but that has resulted in some big, efficient and creative networks – most notably BBDO.

At 62 Wren is a mere stripling compared to rivals Sorrell and Levy. But succession is an issue at Omnicom as well as at WPP and Publicis. Both the latter have suggested recently that their respective bosses will likely be succeeded by a team or a duo (take your pick) as no one person could get their head around all the companies they own and businesses they’re involved in.

Omnicom, the second-largest marcoms company after WPP, looks more manageable. Will BBDO boss Andrew Robertson ever receive his just desserts?

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