More than a morsel…

Though it’s pretty common for a troubled company to ante up some tasty morsel when it manages to lure someone to come work for them, Interpublic Group (IPG) offered a 22-oz aged Porterhouse when it hired new CFO Nicholas Cyprus last year. In a footnote to the proxy it filed on Friday, the company noted that Cyprus received a $1.83 million sign-on bonus as well as $1.2 million in restricted stock.

Judging by that bonus, you’d think that Cyprus had to be wooed away from some super-fantastic job. But Cyprus’ last job had been at AT&T (T) between 1999 and mid-2004, a time when AT&T’s stock sunk even quicker than Interpublic’s did. Not to mention the fact that when Cyprus left AT&T, there was already lots of speculation that the only salvation for the company would come via a merger — one that would likely see Cyprus out of a job.

So why did Interpublic ante up that kind of money? Probably to allow Cyprus to keep up with the Joneses. After all, when Stephen Gatfield joined the company a few weeks earlier, he was given a $750K sign-on bonus.