David Bell Retires From Co-Chairman Post at Interpublic

Eligible to Earn $750,000 Annually as Consultant to Company

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Former Interpublic Group of Cos. CEO David Bell is retiring from his post as co-chairman at the holding company and taking on the role of chairman emeritus.

David Bell received a $1 million salary as co-chairman of IPG, according to SEC filings. As chairman emeritus he will receive up to $750,000 in annual consulting fees.

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Five year deal
Mr. Bell, who lost the top job to current Chairman-CEO Michael Roth early last year, will still be able to consult for the company and is entitled to $750,000 annually in consulting fees for five years, per an employment contract filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year. His annual salary as co-chairman was $1 million, according to that filing.

"We support David's decision to make this transition," Mr. Roth said in a statement. "We appreciate his many contributions and are pleased that he will continue be available to assist us on specific industry or client initiatives. Above all, we wish him well."

Accounting scandal
Interpublic's 2001 acquisition of True North Communications, where Mr. Bell was CEO, brought him into the company as vice chairman. He ascended to the top spot in 2003, after an accounting scandal and an SEC investigation first engulfed the company and then Chairman-CEO John Dooner. Mr. Dooner moved to chairman-CEO of McCann Worldgroup, Interpublic's largest operational unit.

Mr. Bell's tenure as CEO was hailed for improving Interpublic's balance sheet, paring away non-performing assets and reducing debt, but agency executives often complained that he was slow to make decisions at struggling companies, especially Lowe Worldwide and Interpublic's media agencies.

'Many passions'
Said Mr. Bell in the statement: "I am pleased to have been in position to step into the leadership role at Interpublic during a difficult time and I will continue to help the company in my consulting role in the years to come. Professionally, I still have as many things on my 'to do' list as on the list of things that I have accomplished. What's more, I have many passions outside of the business, to which I look forward to devoting more time and energy."

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