Ongoing debate about pay for cultural executives

Posted on: April 26, 2010

In Monday’s (4/26) New York Times, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Taylor write, “For years chief executives at many major cultural organizations in New York City enjoyed salary growth that was buoyed by a booming economy and rivaled that seen in corporate America. Compensation increases of 25 percent to 50 percent over five years were not unusual, and in some cases packages nearly doubled. Reynold Levy’s annual compensation to run Lincoln Center topped $1 million. Carnegie Hall began paying Clive Gillinson more than $800,000. … But in the past 18 months these cultural executives and many others have frozen their salaries or taken cuts as arts budgets have shrunk. … Even after the recent salary jumps, though, cultural executives still generally earn less than their counterparts in the private sector who manage equivalent-sized organizations. … Mr. Gelb said he had earned four times as much as the president of Sony Classical record label before he came to the opera. ‘I took this position at the Met not because of the salary to begin with, though I certainly realize my compensation running a nonprofit is on the high end,’ he said. ‘But it’s the largest performing arts company in the country, if not the world, in terms of budget.’ ”

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Center

Posted April 26, 2010