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November 30, 2018

Executive Compensation at the Natural Resources Defense Council

by Anne Paddock

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) raised $177 million last year and spent $129 million, leaving $48 million added to the net fund balance which had a $306 million balance at year-end.

The largest expense of the New York-based organization is compensation-related expenses, which totaled $67 million for the 662 staff (an average of $101,200 each). However, 179 employees received more than $100,000 in total compensation with the 16 most highly compensated individuals listed as follows:

  • $534,658:  Rhea Suh, President
  • $414,107:  David Hawkins, Senior Attorney III
  • $408,573:  Linda Greer, Senior Scientist III
  • $381,942:  Mitchell Bernard, COO (until 4/17)
  • $312,629:  Steven Baginski, Chief Financial Officer
  • $306,458:  John Murray, Former Director of Development
  • $290,669:  Joel Reynolds, Western Director and Senior Attorney
  • $280,437:  Mimose Elie, Deputer Director IT Operations
  • $279,595:  Ashok Gupta, Former Key Employee
  • $270,817:  Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Chief Program Officer
  • $270,714:  Dale Bryk, Chief Planning and Integ. Officer
  • $247,860:  David Goldston, Director of Government Affairs
  • $239,288:  Mercedes Falber, Chief Human Resources Officer
  • $234,175:  Lisa Benenson, Chief Communications Director (through 8/2)
  • $204,757:  Michelle Egan, Chief Communications Officer
  • $184,067:  John Adams, Trustee*

*John Adams, a founder of the organization retired from NRDC in 2016. However, Adams is reported to be a “part-time consultant” to the organization.  NRCD provided companion travel for him in 2017.  In addition, NRDC reimbursed John Adams for social club dues, and reimbursed for the social club expenses for business purposes. And, finally, “as part of a retirement agreement, NRDC provided Mr. John Adams with medical and dental benefits and a long term care plan who benefits were valued at $23,650 in 2017.

Of the 16 most highly compensated individuals, 10 (or 63%) are male, while 6 (or 37%) are women. Of the 10 most highly compensated individuals, 7 are male, while 3 are female. The most highly compensated individual is a woman, Rhea Suh, the President of the organization.

NRDC paid for companion travel and social club dues.

Board of Trustees member, Wendy Neu has an ownership interest in a building in which NRDC leases space. The annual rent under the lease agreement is $462,858 per year. The aforementioned transaction was entered into by both parties at arm’s length and the lease terms are determined by utilizing current market rates.

Board of Trustees members, Frederick AO Schwarz, Jr. and Frederica Perera have a family relationship.

Board of Trustees member, Sarah Cogan and Officers Maripat Alpuche and Lauren Sullivan, have a business relationship.

Board of Trustees members, Wendy Neu and Josephine Merck have a business relationship.

Board of Trustees members Eric Wepsic and Max Stone have a business relationship.

To read the IRS Form 990, click here.

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