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May 23, 2020

Executive Compensation at the National Restaurant Association

by Anne Paddock

The National Restaurant Association is the largest food trade organization in the world. Governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 90 leaders (although the Form 990 indicates there are 72 board members) in the industry, the National Restaurant Association is a professional trade association, a tax-exempt non-profit organization based in Washington, DC.

In 2017, the National Restaurant Association raised $110 million most of which comes from three (3) sources:  the sale of inventory ($62 million) which appears to be trade data, trade shows ($32 million), and royalties ($8 million). Membership dues – often the biggest source of revenue for trade associations – only provided $4 million to the organization in 2017.

Expenses totaled $110 million in 2017 with the five (5) highest expenses being:

  • Compensation ($46 million)
  • Fees for Services ($14 million)
  • Travel/Conferences/Trade Shows ($13 million)
  • SCA (maker of hygiene products) payments ($13 million)
  • Office-Related Expenses ($12 million)

321 employees were compensated $46 million, which equates to an average compensation of $143,300. However, only 107 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 15 most highly compensated employees were reported to be:

  • $5,202,030:  Dawn M Sweeney, President and CEO
  • $1,132,325:  Marvin F Irby, CFO
  • $1,100,341:  Terry J Erdle, Chief Revenue Officer
  • $  866,960:  Cicely Simpson, EVP, Policy and Government Affairs
  • $  813,818:  Robert A Gifford, EVP ($721,759 is from a related organization)
  • $  796,846:  Sherman L Brown, EVP, Products & Services
  • $  780,440:  Mary Pat Heftman, EVP, Convention and Strategic Alliances
  • $  734,410:  Barbara A Polk, Chief Administrative Officer
  • $  464,334:  Kevin A Steele, Chief Information Officer
  • $  453,622:  Jeffrey G Calore, SVP, Strategic Alliances
  • $  421,875:  Hudson Riehle, SVP, Research and Knowledge
  • $  380,428:  Christopher Rodgers, SVP, General Counsel
  • $  364,675:  Angelo Amador, SVP, Legal Advocacy and Reg Co
  • $  333,368:  Daniel Roehl, VP, Federal Gov’t Affairs
  • $  303,892:  Steven S Danon, SVP, Public Affairs

10 of the 15 (67%) most highly compensated employees are male while 5 (33%) are female. The most highly compensated employee is Dawn M Sweeney, who was compensated more than $5.2 million in 2017.

The 15 most highly compensated employees received more than $14 million in compensation.

The National Restaurant Association paid for first class or charter travel, companion travel, health or social club dues or initiation fees, and provided tax indemnification and gross up payments. For more detail, see Schedule J of the Form 990 (link below).

114 independent contractors received more than $100,000 with the five largest reported to be:

  • $2,410,725:  GES – Chicago of Chicago, IL for exposition services
  • $2,197,179:  RR Donnelley – Chicago of Chicago, IL for warehouse services
  • $1,264,952:  Beacon Hill Staffing Group of Boston, MA for consulting
  • $1,150,139:  Epivia Interaction Marketing Group of Erie, PA for customer service
  • $1,146,911:  UPS of Carol Stream, IL for shipping

To read the IRS Form 990 (2017), click here.

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