Penn President Amy Gutmann received a 41-percent pay increase last year - a jump in compensation that makes her one of only a handful of college presidents who take in more than $1 million annually.
Gutmann earned a total of $1,155,634 in the 2006-07 fiscal year, the latest year for which compensation figures are available. That's about 17 percent more than Gutmann's predecessor, Judith Rodin, earned her last year as president, when she took in $986,915.
It also makes her one of only about eight college presidents who earn seven figures, according to Khiet Ho, a project analyst for Washington law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, who specializes in higher-education compensation issues.
And Gutmann is also the best-paid president in the Ivy League for whom figures are available. The next highest is Ruth Simmons of Brown University, who earned $775,718. (Yale, Columbia and Princeton universities did not provide their tax returns before press time.)
Raymond Cotton, a partner at Mintz Levin, said that the average compensation increase among university presidents was about 10 percent a year.
When asked to comment for this article, Gutmann's office referred all questions to University spokeswoman Lori Doyle.
In a statement, Doyle said the pay increase was a result of Gutmann's exemplary performance handling the transition from Rodin's administration to her own.
"Rather than lose momentum during the transition to a new president in '05, we have gained momentum and Penn is in a very enviable spot in higher education," she wrote in an e-mail.
She added that Gutmann's salary was lower than normal during the first several years of her presidency because of her status as a new and first-time president.
Of her total compensation, Gutmann earned $750,000 in salary and took in $139,000 for "retirement and disability-related expenses" as well as $170,000 in deferred compensation that will be paid out if she reaches "certain goals and objectives," according to Doyle, who was unable to elaborate further. She also had a $66,848 expense account, which was used for living and travel expenses.
The last two figures represent about 29 percent of her total compensation, a jump of 11.2 percentage points from the year before and an unusually high sum, according to Cotton. He speculated that this jump could be attributed in part to Penn's efforts to retain Gutmann in an increasingly competitive market for university presidents - especially because Harvard University was attempting to replace Lawrence Summers as president during this time period, and Gutmann was a contender for the job.
He called this money a "golden handcuff" because deferred compensation would probably be lost if she left Penn to head another institution.
Cotton also pointed out that a president like Gutmann, who at the time was unrolling a massive capital campaign and overseeing Penn's expansion into the postal lands, could expect pay increases as a result of her successful initiatives.
Despite Gutmann's lofty salary, she wasn't Penn's highest-paid employee last year. That distinction goes to Arthur Rubenstein, dean of the Medical School and executive vice president of the Health System. He raked in $3,455,767.
Gutmann's yearly salary is set by the Board of Trustees, Penn's highest governing body, on the recommendation of its compensation committee, while deans and other top officials' salaries are set by the trustees on Gutmann's recommendation.
James Riepe, chairman of the Board of Trustees and head of the compensation committee, did not return repeated requests for comment for this article.
University Secretary Leslie Kruhly refused two requests to make other members of the committee available for interviews.
"Mr. Riepe is the only trustee who speaks on behalf of the compensation committee," she wrote in an e-mail.Comments powered by Disqus
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