Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
Meet the top dogs of academia.
American diplomat and political scientist Henry Kissinger has been quoted as once pointing out that “academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small.” Well, that may or may not have been true in the past but the stakes in academia today can be huge, including in the U.S.
Tight budgets and growing international competition are causing many major U.S. medical institutes to increasingly perform like businesses to survive and thrive. As a result, the heads of many U.S. institutes are paid like those running some small and medium-sized companies.
Following is a list of 20 current or former senior executives of independent nonprofit research institutes, ranked by total compensation for the most recent two years such information was available as furnished by Form 990s filed annually by each institution with the Internal Revenue Service and made public through Guidestar.org and Foundation Center. In most cases, the most recent years available were fiscal years ending in 2012 and 2011. In some cases, new Form 990s covering periods ending in 2013 were available.
Unlike the Top 25 list published last year, this year’s top 20 list is limited to top day-to-day executives, to avoid the distortion of having numerous investment officers without scientific responsibilities fill the list because of pay spikes tied to the revival of the stock market over the past 18 months. These leaders are typically CEOs, presidents, or leaders who held both titles.
Total compensation for leaders of research institutes was mostly stable over the past year. Of 19 leaders whose total compensation could be compared year-over-year, only one saw it rise by greater than 10%, while three saw compensation reductions of 10% or more, including one who saw reduced responsibilities following the end of an affiliation agreement with another institution. Eleven saw their compensation rise up to 10%, while four saw theirs shrink by up to 10%. A year-to-year comparison was unavailable for one leader who took the helm of a research institute after arriving from an institution based overseas and not subject to similar reporting requirements.
#20. Leroy (Lee) Hood, M.D., Ph.D.
Institution: Institute for Systems Biology
2012 calendar year: $414,194
2011 calendar year: $414,471
% Change: 0.07%
#19. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D.
Title: CEO & Director of Scientific Affairs
Institution: Cancer Research Institute
FY ending June 30, 2013: $420,174
FY ending June 30, 2012: $412,959
% Change: 1.7%
#18. Allan Jones, Ph.D.
Institution: Allen Institute for Brain Science
2012 calendar year: $460,347
2011 calendar year: $439,254
% Change: 4.8%
#17. Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D.
Title: President and Chief Scientific Officer
Institution: La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
2012 calendar year: $463,028
2011 calendar year: $445,380
% Change: 4.0%
#16. Richard A. Houghten, Ph.D.
Title: Founder, President, and CEO
Institution: Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies
FY ending June 30, 2013: $475,623
FY ending June 30, 2012: $474,034
% Change: 0.3%
#15. Richard M. Myers, Ph.D.
Title: Faculty Investigator, Director, and President
Institution: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
2012 calendar year: $557,557
2011 calendar year: $533,559
% Change: 4.5%
#14. J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.
Title: Founder, Chairman, and CEO
Institution: J. Craig Venter Institute
2012 calendar year: $646,969
2011 calendar year: $648,539
% Change: -0.2%
#13. Russel E. Kaufman, M.D.
Title: President and CEO
Institution: The Wistar Institute
2012 calendar year: $724,000
2011 calendar year: $733,000
% Change: -1.2%
#12. Eric S. Lander, Ph.D.
Title: Founding Director and Director of the Genome Biology Program
Institution: Broad Institute
FY ending June 30, 2012: $735,116
FY ending June 30, 2011: $818,876
% Change: -10.2%
#11. R. Sanders Williams, M.D.
Institution: The J. David Gladstone Institutes
2012 calendar year: $757,552
2011 calendar year: $851,894
% Change: -11.1%
#10. Bruce Stillman, Ph.D.
Title: President and CEO
Institution: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
2012 calendar year: $757,778
2011 calendar year: $745,552
% Change: 1.6%
#9. Edison T. Liu M.D.
Title: President and CEO, 2012–present; President, Human Genome Organization (HUGO), 2007–2012
Institution: The Jackson Laboratory
2012 calendar year: $908,4232
2011 calendar year: N/A3
% Change: N/A
#8. Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D.
Title: President and Scientific Director4
Institution: Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
13 months ending December 31, 2012: $914,4455,6
FY ending November 30, 2011: $1,346,4355,6
% Change: -32.1%
#7. William R. Brody, M.D., Ph.D.
Institution: The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
FY ending June 30, 2012: $946,823
FY ending June 30, 2011: $951,743
% Change: -0.5%
#6. Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D.
Title: President and Interim CEO7
Institution: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
FY ending September 30, 2012: $1,102,8907
FY ending September 30, 2011: $1,011,7537
% Change: 9.0%
#5. David M. Chao, Ph.D.
Title: President and CEO8
Institution: Stowers Institute for Medical Research
2012 calendar year: $1,240,569
2011 calendar year: $1,180,916
% Change: 5.1%
#4. Robert Tjian, Ph.D.
Institution: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
FY ending August 31, 2013: $1,317,918
FY ending August 31, 2012: $1,199,437
% Change: 9.9%
#3. John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D.
Title: CEO, 2010–2013; President and CEO, 2002–201010
Institution: Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute
FY ending June 30, 2012: $1,369,926
FY ending June 30, 2011: $1,476,406
% Change: -7.2%
#2. Richard A. Lerner, M.D.11
Title: President and CEO, 1991–2012;11 Researcher, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, where he is an Institute Professor and the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Immunochemistry, 2012–present; director of predecessor organization, 1987–1991
Institution: The Scripps Research Institute
FY ending September 30, 2012: $1,370,560
FY ending September 30, 2011: $1,370,494
% Change: 0.005%
#1. Stephen M. Prescott, M.D.
Institution: Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
FY ending June 30, 2013: $1,908,38312
FY ending June 30, 2012: $1,249,438
% Change: 17.9%
1 Also holds faculty positions as Robert W. and Linda L. Mahley Distinguished Professor, and as professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
2 Dr. Liu took office as president and CEO in January 2012.
3 HUGO is headquartered in Singapore and thus is not subject to U.S. disclosure requirements.
4 Holds the additional positions of Head, Melanoma Therapeutics Lab, and Professor, Genetic Basis of Human Disease Division.
5 Difference in tax year period follows a decision by TGen to adopt a tax year ending on December 31, effective in 2012. The change followed the termination of the alliance and affiliation agreement between TGen and the Van Andel Research Institute effective March 12, 2012. That agreement took effect December 1, 2009, and led to TGen changing the end date of its tax year from June 30 to November 30, effective in 2010.
6 During TGen’s alliance with the Van Andel Research Institute (VAI), Jeffrey Trent held positions with both institutions, serving as both president and scientific director of TGen, as well as serving president and research director of VAI. He no longer holds the VAI position.
7 Has served as President since April 2010, and as interim CEO since January 2013, when John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D., resigned to accept position as Head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development, and member of Roche’s Corporate Executive Committee. See: http://beaker.sanfordburnham.org/2013/01/john-reed-resigns-ceo-accepts-roche/
8 Also serves as CEO of BioMed Valley Discoveries, the organization responsible for the translation of the Institute’s basic biomedical discoveries into therapeutic applications.
9 Also continues his research on the biochemistry of gene regulation as a group leader at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, as well as at University of California, Berkeley.
10 Resigned as CEO in January 2013 to accept position as Head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), and member of Roche’s Executive Committee. His duties have since been assumed on an interim basis by Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D., who holds the position of president and interim CEO. See: http://beaker.sanfordburnham.org/2013/01/john-reed-resigns-ceo-accepts-roche/
11 Succeeded by Michael A. Marletta, Ph.D., as President and CEO on January 1, 2012. Dr. Marletta’s total compensation for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012, was $446,034.
12 More than half of his total compensation is accounted for in two categories—$205,148 in “bonus & incentive compensation” and $825,275 in “other compensation.”