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January 13, 2019

Executive Compensation at the Smithsonian Institution

by Anne Paddock

The Smithsonian is one of the most well-known museums in the world but you may not know that the Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex with 19 museums (9 of which are on the National Mall in Washington, DC, an additional 6 in the DC metropolitan area and 2 in New York City, plus the National Zoo, also in DC), and 9 research centers. Collectively, these sites are the Smithsonian Institution, a 501 (c) (3), based in Washington, DC.

The most recent IRS Form 990 (2016) for the year ending September 30, 2017 reports the following key information about employee compensation and practices:

7,156 individuals were compensated $695 million, which equates to an average compensation of $97,000 per employee. However, only 1,458 (or 20% of the total employees) received more than $100,000 in compensation including the following 27 most highly compensated individuals:

  • $848,349: David Skorten, Secretary
  • $674,102:  Amy Chen, Chief Investment Officer
  • $646,635:  Christopher Liedel, President – Smithsonian Enterprises
  • $553,365:  Jeffrey Smith, Investment Officer
  • $469,981:  Albert Horvath, Under Secretary, Finance and Administration, CFO
  • $464,477:  Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum
  • $463,818:  Michael Giovenco, Investment Officer
  • $456,757:  Michael Caruso, Editor in Chief, Smithsonian Magazine
  • $429,839: Ryan Dotson, Investment Officer
  • $419,077:  Virginia Clark, Assistant Secretary for Advancement
  • $391,137:  Richard Kurin, Acting Provost
  • $313,541:  Bruce Dauer, VP, Finance/Admin – Smithsonian
  • $243,540:  Deron Burba, Chief Information Officer
  • $234,811:  Judith Leonard, General Counsel
  • $233,944:  Jean Garvin, Director, Finance and Accounting
  • $232,375:  Mary Payne, Director, Office of Government Relations
  • $231,067:  John LaPiana, Acting Asst Secretary, Communications and External Affairs
  • $229,386:  Patricia Bartlett, Acting Asst Secretary, Education and Access
  • $222,914:  James Douglas, Director, Office of Human Resources
  • $220,875:  Nancy Bechtol, Director, Facilities
  • $220,630:  Andrew Zino, Former Controller
  • $207,081:  Cathy Helm, Inspector General
  • $201,871:  John Kress, Former Interim Under Secretary -Science
  • $196,805: Era Marshall, Director Equal Employment and Minority Affairs
  • $196,635:  David Voyles, Director, Planning, Management, and Budget
  • $192,123:  Kenneth Johnson, Former Acting Director – Planning, Management, and Budget
  • $185,668:  Porter Wilkinson, Chief of Staff – Regents

The above 27 individuals were compensated $9.5 million, or an average of $350,000 each. The most highly compensated individual compensation packages ranged from a low of $185,668 to $848,349. Of the 27 most highly compensated individuals, 18 (or 67%) are male while 9 (or 33%) are female. Of the 10 most highly compensated individuals, 7 are male while 3 are female.

First class and charter travel is paid for by the Smithsonian Institution although the notes clarify that first class is limited to one employee (probably the Secretary). The organization also paid for companion travel (4 times in 2016 but the number of times in 2017 is not stated).

To review the IRS Form 990 (2016) for the year ending September 30, 2017, click here.

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