GLOBAL – Paul Thornton, European senior partner at consulting firm Watson Wyatt, has sold $2.63m (€2.2m) worth of shares in the company (Updates with clarification).

According to a regulatory filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thornton sold 100,000 shares of Class A Common Stock on July 14 at $26.3 a share. The move follows the merger between US-based Watson Wyatt & Co. and UK-based Watson Wyatt LLP.

"This is not a sale of shares by Paul personally but the disposal of the 100,000 shares that Watson Wyatt LLP held and which is required pursuant to the terms of the agreement to transfer the LLP's business to Watson Wyatt & Company," a spokesman said.

Last month it emerged that Thornton and other senior figures at the firm in Europe earned more in combined salary and bonus than the firm’s chief executive John Haley.

Haley, who is president, CEO and chairman, earned a salary of $710,606 (€589,759) in 2004 and a bonus of $464,105 – taking his combined pay before options to $1.17m.

Washington-based Watson Wyatt & Co. and Reigate-based Watson Wyatt LLP signed an agreement to combine in April.

Thornton’s base salary of $192,984 and $1.64m bonus took his pay in 2004 to around $1.83m. Investment consulting head Roger Urwin’s package was about the same.

And European regional head Ramamurthy – who is set to join the board of the merged entity – made a base salary of $192,984 and a bonus of $1.14m.

Watson Wyatt Holdings is holding a special shareholders meeting on July 22 in Bethesda, Maryland, to approve the merger plan and Ramamurthy’s appointment to the board.