Top directors enjoy pay hikes despite the downturn

The recession may have been rough on the PR industry in general, but many agency directors coped with the downturn rather better.

The pay of the top ten highest earning directors rose by 3.9 per cent in 2009, Kingston Smith W1's data shows. This rise was driven by WPP-owned Finsbury, which paid its top earning director, thought to be founder Roland Rudd, £3.1m during the year.

There were also big pay increases at Grayling after its merger with Mmd and Trimedia. The top director's pay almost trebled.

The Big Partnership, just outside the top ten list, handed its highest earning director a 160 per cent rise, to £346,000.

Pay for all directors across the top 40 agencies fell by 7.6 per cent, with drops of over 20 per cent at Edelman, Ketchum Pleon, Maitland and Mandate.

Employment costs per head rose marginally to £61,660, despite a drop in operating profits of 14.7 per cent for the top 40 consultancies.

Highest paid director (by company) Salary '09 '08 Change
(pounds k) (pounds k) (%)

1 Finsbury 3,125 2,883 8.39
2 Bell Pottinger Communications 1,117 1,155 -3.29
3 CMGRP UK (Weber Shandwick) 662 524 26.34
4 Citigate Dewe Rogerson 634 672 -5.65
5 Grayling UK 631 218 189.45
6 The Maitland Consultancy 552 888 -37.84
7 Next Fifteen Communications Group 456 392 16.33
8 Ketchum Pleon 426 528 -19.32
9 Hill & Knowlton 383 412 -7.04
10 College Hill Holdings 355 359 -1.11
11 The Big Partnership Group Ltd 346 133 160.15
12 Daniel J. Edelman Ltd 321 248 29.44
13 Frank Public Relations Ltd 319 301 5.98
14 Fishburn Hedges Boys Williams Ltd 301 408 -26.23
15 Good Relations Ltd 283 287 -1.39

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