More On Executive Compensation

The issue of rewarding effort versus achievement is at that national forefront again due to an article from the 2/11/06 edition of Wall Street Journal by Jacob Hale Russell (WSJ online is a pay service only so no direct link to the article is available, sorry). The article reviews the pros and cons of the sharp increase in executive salary during times when orchestras and other nonprofit performing arts groups are experiencing financial difficulties…

This is a well-worn topic here at Adaptistration. In fact, you can find detailed compensation reports for almost every professional symphonic orchestra in the country. The reports compare the base compensation between music directors, executive directors, concert masters, and musicians together with their organization’s budget.

Here are some direct links to the most recent compensation reports (many of which include numerous comments from a variety of viewpoints discussing the issues presented in the articles):

  • 2005 Compensation Report: ROPA Music Directors
  • 2005 Compensation Report: ROPA Executive Directors
  • 2005 Compensation Report: ICSOM Music Directors
  • 2005 Compensation Report: ICSOM Executive Directors</blockquote

    About Drew McManus

    "I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

    I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

    In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

    For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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