Bonus Watch: Cornell Endowment Chiefs

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Nice work if you can get it.

In fiscal year 2009, which ended on June 30, 2009, CIO James Walsh received a compensation package that totaled $888,643. This included $413,680 in base salary pay, $15,000 in other reportable compensation, $49,963 in benefits and deferred compensation, and $420,000 categorized as “bonus and incentive compensation.” Walsh received this bonus compensation during one of the worst fiscal years in the University endowment’s recent history. Under Walsh’s management, the University’s endowment lost about $1.4 billion of its value during fiscal year 2009, falling from about $5.4 billion in June 2008 to about $4 billion in June 2009. The sudden drop in the value of the endowment forced Cornell to implement hiring and construction pauses, lay off employees and slash budgets across campus. It also prompted the University to launch a massive restructuring process, dubbed “Reimagining Cornell.” Asked why the chief investment officer’s total compensation during fiscal year 2009 was more than doubled by bonus payments, Deputy University Spokesperson Simeon Moss ’73 said in an e-mail that “such bonuses are contingent on performance.” [Cornell Sun]

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