Cordiant disputes Saatchi's bonus

BY MATHEW HORSMAN

Maurice Saatchi's bonus for 1994, believed to be as high as £100,000, is the subject of legal proceedings tied to his acrimonious departure late last year from Cordiant, the new name of the Saatchi & Saatchi holding company.

Cordiant has refused to pay the bonus, which would have accompanied a salary of £233,339, because of the legal proceedings launched against Mr Saatchi following his decision to establish a competing firm, dubbed New Saatchi, early this year.

Jeremy Sinclair, the former chairman, has also not received his bonus, which was to accompany a salary last year of £275,000.

A spokesman for Cordiant would not confirm the size of Mr Saatchi's disputed bonus, but said it would have been in line with the "performance of the company last year."

Charles Scott, Cordiant's chief executive, earned £300,000 last year, and was awarded a bonus of £137,213, up from £20,598 a year earlier. Along with pension benefits and benefits in kind, Mr Scott earned a total of £475,570 in 1994, up from £365,537 a year earlier.

Reports of the salary and bonuses for Mr Saatchi in Cordiant's annual report, published yesterday, are annotated with the statement that the bonus is "currently the subject of legal proceedings."

Neither New Saatchi nor Cordiant would comment directly on the bonus.

Mr Saatchi's New Saatchi has been locked in a bitter battle with Cordiant to win business. It has succeeding in wresting several high-profile accounts.

The legal wrangling between the two firms is due to resume in court in June. Cordiant is disputing the terms under which Mr Saatchi, along with key former executives of Cordiant, has establish his rival firm.

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