Disable all preview features

De Montebello's $4.7 Million Topped Nonprofit Leaders

Bloomberg News

September 17, 2007


By Patrick Cole

Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Philippe de Montebello earned $4.7 million last year, beating out presidents of universities and leading hospitals as the highest reported compensation among executives at U.S. nonprofit institutions.

In addition to his $4.56 million salary, de Montebello received $187,685 in benefits, housing and expense-account allowances in the fiscal year ending June 30, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy survey released today.

De Montebello, the longest-serving director in the New York museum's history, earned $533,462 in 2005. The huge increase in his compensation last year was the result of a one-time, $4 million payment to mark his 30 years as head of the U.S.'s largest art institution, Metropolitan spokesman Harold Holzer said in an e-mail.

``Museum pay is rising to be more like that at colleges and hospitals because they're complex institutions to run -- that's why they're paid more,'' said Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle. ``In the case of museums, it also reflects the shortage of the people who are trained to lead museums.''

The pay of top officials at the largest U.S. nonprofits rose 4.6 percent in 2006 from the previous year, a period in which the inflation rate was 2 percent. The Chronicle's 15th annual salary survey covered 298 institutions.

MoMA's Lowry

Glenn Lowry, director of New York's Museum of Modern Art, was paid $1.32 million last year, the survey said. His package included $223,993 in retirement benefits and a $185,435 bonus based on his performance, the Chronicle said.

In 2005, Lowry received compensation of $875,301 and a $283,250 bonus, the Chronicle reported last year.

Barry Munitz, the former director of the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles, the world's richest art institution, received $1.28 million in 2006, which included $385,837 in allowances and benefits. Munitz resigned last year after the California attorney general raised questions about his travel and business expenses.

Donors to museums may begin questioning rising pay of top museum leaders if the trend continues, said Trent Stamp, president of Charity Navigator, a Mahwah, New Jersey-based group that evaluates the performance of nonprofit organizations.

``If museums posted next to the admission price that the next $4 million is going to go to the chief executive, most people would pass on signing up to become members,'' Stamp said. ``It just doesn't pass the smell test.''

Johns Hopkins University President William Brody had the highest pay package among university leaders, with $1.49 million in salary and $235,260 in allowances and benefits.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Cole in New York at pcole3@Bloomberg.net .

Join Our Mailing List

Join over 400,000 other informed givers and get updates on charity ratings, new features, hot topics, and tips for donating.