Purdue trims president's pay, breaks new ground for executive compensation

December 15, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Saturday (Dec. 15) approved an employment contract for incoming president Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. that lowers the base pay and includes performance bonuses based on critical goals such as increased graduation rates and affordability.

"Gov. Daniels proposed a salary plan that offers incentives for reaching Purdue goals that are important to all of us - students, families, taxpayers, faculty and staff," said Keith Krach, chair of the Board of Trustees. "The board enthusiastically embraced the concept and it underlines our commitment to growing the value of a Purdue degree. This contract goes further on performance goals than any we know about."

Goals and weights will be revised each year and mutually agreed upon by Daniels and the board. There are five performance areas: student affordability, graduation and student achievement, strategic program development with demonstrated student outcomes in knowledge and understanding, philanthropic support, and faculty excellence and recognition. Goals and metrics for Daniels' first year will be finalized in June.

The base pay will be $420,000 with the potential for another 30 percent from the performance incentives. There is no deferred compensation. If all goals are met - and Krach said a perfect score would be difficult - Daniels' pay could reach $546,000. Compensation for the previous Purdue president, including deferred compensation, was $555,000. Daniels' potential salary would rank 10th in the Big Ten, according to April 2012 data.

"Purdue is committed to ever-higher standards of teaching and valuable research, provided at a cost accessible to all qualified students. As an institution we must embrace these goals and accountability for results in approaching them," Daniels said. "This contract is designed to underscore the university's commitments by aligning my priorities as its employee with the objectives of student success, student affordability, and institutional excellence and reputation."

Daniels will reside at Westwood, the Purdue president's official residence. The contract is valid for five years and five months, and his start date will be Jan. 15.

Writer: Chris Sigurdson, 765-496-2644, sig@purdue.edu

Sources:  Keith Krach, keith@3points.org

Mitchell E. Daniels, media contact, 317-232-1622

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