Sorrell, who recently expanded WPP's empire with the $1.5 billion takeover of Grey Global Group, now commands an annual pay cheque of £2.45 million, the WKS survey shows.
Earlier this year, Sorrell appeared to be heading for a confrontation with investors over the size of his salary - up 27 per cent on the previous year. However, it was agreed by shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting.
His salary is significantly ahead of Aegis Group's Doug Flynn, the second-highest-paid executive. Flynn's £1.4 million salary reflects Aegis' buoyant performance - an 18 per cent profits increase in its half-yearly results.
Chime's Lord Bell earned £782,000 at the end of a difficult period for his group, which returned to the black in the first half of this year with a pre-tax profit of £3.2 million.
Lower in the table, TBWA UK Group's highest-paid director (most likely its head of Europe, Paul Bainsfair) took home £687,000, while Leagas Delaney's highest-paid director, presumably its chairman, Tim Delaney, made £584,000. However, this is based on a 2001 report filed before the group changed its name and went into liquidation.
Figures have yet to be filed by the new group.
WKS researchers believe the increased salary levels of agency chiefs are the result of better profits and because operations are much leaner as they emerge from recession.
- Feature, p28.