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Saatchi & Saatchi signals name change

A "classic smear campaign" was behind the row over the expenses of Charles and Maurice Saatchi, the founders of Saatchi and Saatchi, a spokesman for the brothers alleged last night.

With claims over the weekend that the two cost the company £5.5m in pay and other expenses in 1988-89, Saatchi is today announcing plans to restrict directors' share options and contract lengths.

Option awards will be cut to a multiple of four to eight times salary, depending on seniority, and will be exercisable over five years.

Under a controversial earlier option scheme, Maurice Saatchi was entitled to options worth eight times salary, exercisable over three years.

The group will also announce plans to change its name to Cordiant plc. The new name is intended to distance the holding company from the subsidiary agencies, which will retain theSaatchi & Saatchi name.

A spokesman for the brothers said no figures had been produced to back claims about the scale of their cost to the firm in 1988-89.