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December 7, 2019

Executive Compensation at the American Heart Association (2018)

by Anne Paddock

The American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) that primarily relies on public and government funds for funding and is therefore required to submit an IRS Form 990 – the tax return that provides details about the organization including how much revenue was raised and spent, the amount the organization has in net fund assets, and the compensation packages of the executives.

In 2017-2018 (which reflects the year beginning July 1, 2017 and ending June 30, 2018), the AHA reports the organization raised $852 million, most of which came from contributions, gifts, grants, and sales of inventory.

Expenses totaled $827 million (including $13 million in depreciation) so the organization was able to save the unspent revenue thereby increasing the net fund balance to $952 million at year-end (note:  the net fund balance increased by $44 million which is also due in part to $18 million in net unrealized gains on investments).

The AHA reported having 4,572 employees who were compensated $372 million (44% of revenue) which equates to an average compensation of $81,400.  545 received more than $100,000 in total compensation including the 13 most highly compensated employees listed below:

  • $1,733,963:  Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer
  • $  660,802:  Rose Marie Robertson, Chief Science and Medical Officer
  • $  628,827:  Leslie Upton, Chief Operating Officer
  • $  621,127:  John J Meiners, Chief of Mission Aligned Businesses
  • $  582,183:  David Markiewicz, EVP Southeast
  • $  561,753:  Midge Epstein, EVP Affiliate
  • $  555,162:  Meighan Girgus, Chief Marketing and Programs Officer
  • $  548,191:  Kathleen Rogers, EVP Affiliate
  • $  488,006:  Kevin Harker, EVP Affiliate
  • $  333,026:  Lynne Darrouzet, EVP Corporate Secretary (thru 10/17)
  • $  369,310:  Cynthia Roberts, Chief Financial Officer
  • $  326,709:  Sunder Joshi, Retired CAO
  • $  311,277:  Larry Cannon, CAO, Corporate Secretary

As listed above, $7.7 million was paid to 13 staff members.  Of the 13 most highly compensated employees, 8 (or 62%) are female while 5 (or 38% are male). Of the 10 most highly compensated employees, 7 are female while 3 are male.

The IRS Form 990 (2015) also reports the following:

The AHA paid for first class or charter travel. Specifically, the CEO flies first class on lengthy domestic flights and international flights.

The AHA paid for travel for companions.  Specifically, travel to a limited number of events and functions is provided for spouses or companions of the CEO’s, Presidents and Chairman.

The AHA paid for health or social club dues or initiation fees. Specifically, membership to a local fitness center is provided to senior management members Nancy Brown, John Meiners, Meghan Girgus, and Leslie Upton. These benefits are treated as taxable income.

A non-qualified retirement restoration plan is provided to certain members of senior management (while other employees of the AHA are eligible to participate in the qualified retirement plan). Because the qualified retirement plan is capped, the senior management are allowed to make contributions based on the amount the participant would have been allowed to receive if the qualified plan was not capped. Midge Epstein received $22,451; Rose Marie Robertson received $26,815; Sunder Joshi received $190,554; John Meiners received $129,522..

In summary, the AHA raised more than $850 million last year and has almost $1 billion in net fund assets; compensated their top chief executive nearly $2 million a year, paid $6 million to a dozen other senior staff, provided senior management with a non-qualified retirement restoration plan, provided some senior members with a fitness membership, provided a generous incentive plan, and paid for first class travel and companion travel.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2017 for the year ending June 30, 2018), click here.

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