Our six specific objectives: Four continued

Training and development

Talent and its management therefore remain the lynchpin of our reason for existence: that is what our clients pay us for. Development of our people and the way we manage that talent is a critical determinant of performance; and on that critical dimension, we continue to make significant progress.

In the creation of extremely attractive working environments, with highly competitive incentives, we increasingly differentiate ourselves from our competitors and improve the attraction of WPP companies as destinations for talent. Our quarterly reviews with the operating companies have been restructured, consequently, to give more time and attention to talent and to clients. Our recruiting efforts throughout 2008 were especially fruitful, as we successfully targeted and attracted top talent within and beyond our industry, often competing with investment banking, management consulting and private equity offers. The war for talent is fierce and there is more to be done.

The blueprint for our executive development curriculum has been completed and our new client leadership training program, Maestro, has been successfully introduced. The parent company and each of our operating companies installed its own approach to performance assessment and succession planning, aimed at developing the careers of their people, improving the quality of feedback, coaching and mentoring and providing for orderly succession. We continued to scrutinise and modify our compensation practices, both to offer competitive and appropriately-based rewards to our people and to attract outstanding talent from elsewhere.