Although 1987 was, at best, a so-so year in the advertising business, it was a banner year for the industry's highest-paid executives.
In fact, salaries of the 30 top paid executives at the nation's largest publicly held advertising agencies were up a whopping 17.2% compared to 1986, according to the Gallagher Report, a New York-based advertising industry newsletter.
The highest-paid U.S. advertising executive in 1987 was Philip H. Geier Jr., chairman and chief executive of Interpublic Group, the New York holding company for a number of ad firms including McCann-Erickson and Los Angeles-based Dailey & Associates, with a salary of $1.4 million.
The average salary of the top 30 executives was $573,547, the study reported.
Notably absent from the list were executives from the ad firm J. Walter Thompson, which has slashed salaries across the board since it was acquired by WPP Group last year.
Why did salaries generally jump in 1987? Well, 1986 was a lousy year for raises, as salaries only rose 0.3%. "It's very conceivable," said Kevin P. McCauley, associate editor of the newsletter, "that, since 1986 was so flat, 1987 had to make up for it."
THE TOP TEN
Executive Agency Salary Gain Philip H. Geier Jr. Interpublic Group $1,404,670 16.9% Edward H. Meyer Grey Advertising 1,335,010 13.2 Allen Rosenshine Omnicom Group 750,000 13.6 William V. Weithas Interpublic Group 735,159 33.7 Robert L. James Interpublic Group 733,371 17.5 Keith L. Reinhard Omnicom Group 708,435 34.9 Wili Schalk Omnicom Group 651,759 20.0 Norman W. Brown Foote, Cone & Belding 648,558 31.5 Leo-Arthur Kelmenson BJK&E 643,690 38.196 Norman W. Campbell Omnicom Group 625,000 13.6