MIT's highest pay goes to administrators, MITIMCo leadership

Seth Alexander, President of the MIT Investment Management Company, was once again MIT’s highest compensated individual, earning $1,607,182, according to MIT’s tax form 990 for the year 2014.

The form, which all tax exempt organizations are required to make available to the public, includes the compensation of MIT’s top administrators and other highest-paid individuals, among other financial data. The numbers in this article reflect both reportable compensation (the amount that would appear on an individual's W-2 form) and estimated amount of other compensation, such as retirement benefits.

MIT’s second-highest-paid individual was MITIMCo Managing Director Steven C. Marsh’s pay of $1,266,029, followed by President Emerita Susan J. Hockfield with $1,095,579.

As for current administrators, President L. Rafael Reif was paid $967,887, Provost Martin A. Schmidt was paid $610,183, Executive VP and Treasurer Israel Ruiz was paid $606,763, and Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart was paid $394,415.

For comparison, Harvard president Drew G. Faust received $1,202,980 in compensation, Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber received $833,167, and Harvard Executive VP Katherine N. Lapp received $671,789.

These amounts, however, are not the highest among MIT’s peer institutions. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, in 2013, Columbia president Lee C. Bollinger earned upwards of $4.5 million, and University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann earned $3 million, making them the highest paid presidents in academia.

Professors at MIT’s Sloan School of Management were also among MIT’s highest compensated individuals. Professors Charles Fine and Roberto Fernandez earned $906,406 and $843,178 respectively.

Professor Daron Acemoglu in the Economics Department made $841,380. This level of compensation may be what is required to retain top economics talent. Stanford made an offer to Acemoglu in 2012. Economics professors Dave Donaldson and Michael Greenstone recently left MIT for Stanford and the University of Chicago, respectively. Harvard has recently lost some of its economists as well—Professors Raj Chetty, Susan C. Athey, and Guido W. Imbens all departed for Stanford.

High-ranking members of the MIT Corporation were also well-compensated, with Senior VP and Secretary R. Gregory Morgan earning $674,040, outgoing Chairman John S. Reed earning $233,663 and incoming Chairman Robert B. Millard earning $76,773. The latter two figures reflect the fact that each man served only part of that year—Millard, the current chairman, began his tenure in October 2014.