Huge CEO salaries

March 10, 2015;Washington Post

According to the 2013 Form 990 filing of the Pew Charitable Trust, president and CEO Rebecca Rimel received $4,065,021 in compensation plus another $46,134 in compensation from related organizations. On the 2012 990, Rimel’s Pew compensation was only $750,713 plus an additional $398,295 from related organizations. The increase to over $4m is Rimel’s deferred compensation plan (formally, a Section 457(f) supplemental retirement plan), valued at $3,298,145, which is now being reported on Pew’s 990s per IRS instructions. The 990 explains that the deferred compensation plan was devised as a “retention tool” for Rimel, and “Pew’s independent compensation consultant determined such total compensation to be reasonable based on comparable market data.”

So why then is Rimel auctioning off her record collection of 200 albums to employees, with opening bids starting at three dollars? It’s nice that the Washington Post’s “Reliable Source” column mentioned that Rimel’s tastes include Hendrix, the Stones, and the Doors, but an auction? Maybe she’s downsizing in her personal life, and one hopes that the proceeds will be devoted to a charity of some sort.

Rimel doesn’t appear to be short of money. Besides her sizable Pew and Pew-related take, she sits on the corporate boards of Deutsche Asset Management/DWS Funds; Becton, Dickinson & Company; and CardioNet (now called BioTelemetry). She also serves on the PNC Bank Advisery Board for Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. It seems that her corporate board service isn’t pro bono.

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Based on a February 1, 2015 filing by Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management, Rimel reportedly received $290,000 in annual total compensation from the Deutsche Fund Complex. One source reports that Rimel received a salary and bonus of $136,000 and stock awards of $249,192 for her service on the BioTelemetry board, apparently for the previous year. According to the Becton-Dickinson proxy statement for 2014, Rimel’s 2013 total compensation for her board service there was $250,150, divided between $81,000 in fees and $169,150 in stock.

In a report on Rimel’s declared insider stock holdings in firms where she has a governing role as a board member, she is reported to own 6,252 shares in Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX on the NYSE), acquired for $0 a share; 99,165 shares in BioTelemetry (BEAT), also acquired at $0; 540 shares in Deutsche Multi-Market Income (KMM), acquired for $9.29 a share; and 405 shares in Deutsche Strategic Municipal (KSM), acquired at $13.40 a share. As of March 11, the stock quote for BEAT shares was $9.83/share; for BDX, the quote was $141.54/share; for KMM, it was $8.48/share; and for KSM, it was $13.98/share.

Maybe Rimel’s auction of her record collection is sort of her version of a yard sale. (If she has any albums from the jazz/rock group Chase or from the Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra from the late 1960s and early 1970s, let us know.) Selling her album collection is her business—that’s fine. But the idea of a foundation official earning the kind of money that Rimel is taking home strikes many people in the nonprofit world as absurd, inconceivable, unwarranted, and unjustifiable, no matter what the Pew compensation consultant found. Some philanthropic compensation levels are just plain wrong.—Rick Cohen