employees were pleasantly surprised on July 21, when all of them who had been associated with the agency for more than six months received a payout. Some cheques were reportedly in the range of Rs 1 crore.
Now being touted as one of the biggest disbursements ever by an advertising agency in India, this development came soon after the Interpublic Group acquired Lintas India. The payout puts to rest the rumours that erupted after the acquisition. Prem Mehta, chairman and managing director of Lintas, did the honours himself. While he handed out the cheques to the employees, an announcement was also made about the development to the agency's branches and divisions in the rest of the country.
The source said the benefits have trickled down to most employees, but those who have served the company the longest, or are at the top, are the biggest gainers. Who gets how much was evaluated on the basis of number of years spent at the agency, contribution made, present salary, etc. For instance, employees who have been with the agency for close to 25 years have received Rs 20 lakh.
Word has spread like wildfire and various divisions within Lintas (besides Lowe) - Lintas Personal, Linterland, LinOpinion, Advent, Lintertainment and Lintas Healthcare - are expecting to see some action beginning Monday. A senior employee of LinOpinion says, "We have not been informed of any payouts yet though we will soon be informed about it."
Though the development has come as a surprise for Lintas members, other agencies do not find it unusual. Satbir Singh, chief creative officer, Euro RSCG, India, says, "This may be a big deal for those who have got that amount, but it's not completely unheard of. For instance, this has been happening at agencies such as Ogilvy and JWT. Here, depending upon the performance, all members get a lot of money from time to time."
Agrees Rohit Ohri, managing partner, JWT, Delhi, "To my mind, this is a result of the sale to IPG. This was a natural step and in this case, the employees were taken by surprise. This happened in JWT as well. When JWT did it, it was based on the shareholding of each employee.
"Here, this should be seen as Prem Mehta's way of sharing the good fortune with employees. This keeps happening at JWT and Ogilvy. Employees repeatedly get back money."