Brandeis announces changes to its executive compensation policies

Board also announces details of previously disclosed payments to former President Reinharz

The Brandeis University Board of Trustees today announced significant changes to its executive compensation policies, including the adoption of a “Statement of Compensation Philosophy.”  These actions were unanimously approved by the Board based upon recommendations of an Ad Hoc Committee charged with reviewing policies for setting and disclosing executive compensation at the University.  

The Ad Hoc Committee, which included several board members and a faculty representative, was co-chaired by Trustees Larry Kanarek ‘76, and Adam Rifkin ‘97, the President of the Brandeis University Alumni Association.  

The Ad Hoc Committee considered input from many sources including alumni, faculty, students, and the “Massachusetts Public Charities CEO Compensation Review” released last month by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.

At its meeting on January 22, 2014, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved several new policies and procedures for setting, reviewing and disclosing executive compensation, including:

•    Commitment to Brandeis following best practices for executive compensation at nonprofits and universities;
•    Commitment to full transparency about executive compensation with the Board of Trustees;
•    Annual review of executive compensation to ensure compliance with the Compensation Philosophy, best practices and legal requirements;
•    Faculty participation on the compensation committee charged with recommending the President’s compensation to the full Board of Trustees;
•    Equity at the University and public confidence as factors to be considered when setting compensation;
•    Prompt disclosure of Presidential compensation to the faculty before legally required disclosure dates.

“Our new policies set very high standards,” said Perry M. Traquina ’78, who was elected Chair of the Brandeis University Board of Trustees in May 2013. “These governance changes turn a new page for the University and aim to make Brandeis a national leader in terms of best practices for executive compensation,” he added.

"I welcome the thoughtful approach taken by our Board. Our intention is that these changes will put Brandeis on the leading edge in terms of governance best practices,” said Frederick M. Lawrence, President of Brandeis University.  

“In adopting these changes, the Board simultaneously demonstrates its commitment to act in a fiscally responsible way, the need to retain qualified leadership and address concerns raised by faculty, students and alumni around past practice,” said Sacha Nelson, one of four faculty representatives to the Board of Trustees, who also served on the Ad Hoc Committee.

In keeping with the University’s pledge of greater transparency, the Board of Trustees today announced details of deferred compensation and sabbatical payments to former president Jehuda Reinharz earned during more than three decades of service to the University.

As previously disclosed and reported in the University’s state and federal tax filings over many years, the accumulated value of Dr. Reinharz’s deferred compensation of $4.1 million was released to Dr. Reinharz on January 2, 2014.  Dr. Reinharz also received $811,000 as the payout of previously disclosed compensation for untaken sabbaticals earned during his career at Brandeis.  

These amounts had been set aside in previous years’ budgets and will have no impact on the University’s current finances.

Dr. Reinharz was the second longest serving president in the history of Brandeis University.  During his 17 years as president, the University was transformed through an unprecedented campus-wide expansion with 29 new or renovated campus buildings. During Reinharz’s presidency, diversity of the student body increased, 36 endowed faculty and staff positions and 17 new research centers and institutes were created, the university raised $1.2 billion dollars including significant funds for financial aid, and its endowment more than quadrupled. Dr. Reinharz will maintain his half-time appointment on the Brandeis University faculty, where he is director of the Tauber Institute, through June 30, 2024, at an annual salary of $180,000. He also chairs the Advisory Board for Brandeis’ Crown Center for Middle East Studies.  

“Since stepping down as president, Jehuda has continued to be a champion for Brandeis and will continue to be a strong partner in our ongoing development efforts,” added Lawrence.

“The Board has taken an important step in the right direction in terms of creating a transparent process that respects issues of equity,” said Eric Chasalow, a member of the Brandeis faculty and Chair of the Faculty Senate.   “I have great confidence that President Lawrence is leading Brandeis in the right direction.”

“Our alumni community is extremely supportive of President Lawrence’s leadership for our alma mater, and our alumni are focused on the long-term success of Brandeis,” said Adam Rifkin, President of the Alumni Association.  “I am particularly pleased that there will be greater and more timely disclosure to the community and that the formal adoption of a compensation philosophy will guide the board in establishing compensation.

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