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WPP cheered the City yesterday as its half-year profits surged almost 20 per cent to £429m and the advertising giant promised to keep raising the dividend.

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how we met: Martin Sorrell; &; Simon Schama

Martin Sorrell, 54, is group chief executive of WPP, one of the world's largest advertising companies. Educated at Cambridge and Harvard Business School, he was group finance director of Saatchi & Saatchi for nine years, before founding WPP in 1986. Married with three sons, he lives in London

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Sorrell defends controversial pounds 31m WPP incentive scheme

MARTIN SORRELL, chief executive of WPP, the advertising and marketing services group, yesterday defended a five-year pounds 31m incentive plan, but he added: "It's clearly risky."

A bonus worth pounds 500,000 a month

THE CHIEF executive of the advertising group WPP could secure a pounds 31m share package, the biggest single bonus in British business history.

Investment: Internet billings drive WPP growth

WPP, the advertising group whose shares have more than doubled since the stock market recovery started in autumn last year, continued its good run yesterday with a 19 per cent increase in full-year profits and a pledge of more growth to come. However, the shares fell by 4 per cent to 464.75p as investors took profits after the recent strong run.

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THE STOCK MARKET convulsions of the past few months have been enough to turn investors to smoking. As Footsie seesawed, stressed-out traders have been steadily pouring money into tobacco stocks - a classic safe haven in uncertain times.

Investment: WPP looks on the bright side

SPARE A thought for Martin Sorrell. Earlier this year the chief executive of WPP, the advertising giant, pocketed the final tranche of shares in his controversial incentive plan. Since then, however, the shares have plunged 40 per cent on fears that the global advertising industry is heading for a slowdown.
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