Financial bonanza for Dooner despite IPG share collapse

John Dooner, the former chief of the cash-strapped Interpublic group, is set to benefit from a multimillion-dollar pension arrangement when he leaves the company.

Dooner, who stepped down as the group's chief executive earlier this year to return to his old job as the head of its McCann-Erickson subsidiary, was paid $1,250,000 last year, according to figures released by Interpublic to accompany its annual report.

But, under a pension plan, Dooner,who at 53 is two years off his earliest retirement date, could net more than $2 million a year for 15 years .

The figures will dismay staff and shareholders of the group, which saw a 79 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profits to just £12.7 million, blamed largely on the advertising recession.

IPG is also facing a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into millions of dollars worth of accounting errors dating back to 1997.

Dooner's sole fiscal "punishment" for IPG's poor showing was the withholding of a bonus to him last year. In 2001, this amounted to $500,000.