Aegis Group Paid Out $3.6 Million in Termination Packages

Annual Report Details Costs of Lerwill, Verklin, de Nardis Departures

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LONDON ( -- Aegis Group spent $3.6 million in 2008 on termination payments to three senior executives, according to its latest annual report.

Former CEO Robert Lerwill, who left at the end of November, received $2 million in termination payments and took home a total of $3 million for the year. David Verklin, who resigned in April and left the post of CEO at Aegis Media Americas in October, received an extra $1.14 million, bringing his total for the year to $1.7 million.

Mainardo de Nardis, who was CEO of Aegis Media until September 2008, received $550,000 as compensation for a six-month period of gardening leave.

Mr. Lerwill's exit may have an impact on Aegis Group's annual general meeting in London on May 22, when shareholders will be asked to vote on a resolution that would more clearly define the guidelines on conflict of interest for directors on the company's board.

The proposal needs the support of 75% of shareholders to pass. At last year's meeting, Bollore Group's shareholding contingent voted against the changes, but this year, due to a rapprochement between Bollore and Aegis following the departure of Mr. Lerwill, there is a better chance that the resolution will pass.

Vincent Bollore, the chairman of rival advertising holding company Havas and head of Bollore Group, owns a 29.9% stake in Aegis and has consistently attempted to get representation on the board at Aegis.

An Aegis representative said the proposal is very much a "matter of course" and is about updating practices in line with other U.K. companies rather than anything specifically targeted at Bollore. "Most listed companies have made these changes to their articles of association, and this brings us into line," she said.