Minnesota Orchestra CEO Michael Henson saw two massive bonuses as he was planning for his musicians’ major work stoppage, totaling $202,500.
This information comes courtesy of the 990 that covers the time period between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012. It was recently quietly posted on Guidestar.org. This document is not on the Minnesota Orchestra’s website, so you will have to go to Guidestar.org to see it.
Henson took home $386,916 in base compensation – $202,500 in bonus and incentive compensation – $9,800 in retirement and other deferred compensation – and $20,097 in non-taxable benefits for a grand total of $619,313.
Here is the explanation on the 990.
Michael Henson’s bonus amount in Part II, Section B, Column 2 consists of bonuses for two separate fiscal years that were paid in the same calendar year. The bonus for fiscal year 2011 was paid in March 2011 and the bonus for fiscal year 2012 was paid in December 2011. Per IRS regulations, this schedule was filled out based on the calendar year 2011.
For comparison’s sake, here are some other American orchestras by budget – their expenses – who their executive directors are – how much they were compensated – and what percentage of the budget their compensation is.
Here are orchestras who haven’t yet publicized their 2012 990. This is from FY 2011.
Los Angeles Philharmonic – $103,925,230. Deborah Borda – $1,602,228 – 1.5%
New York Philharmonic – $68,400,555. Zarin Mehta – $887,401 – 1.3%.
And here are orchestras who have publicized their 2012 990.
Boston Symphony – $85,844,758. Mark Volpe – $622,938 – 0.7%
Chicago Symphony – $80,055,672. Deborah Rutter – $577,189 – 0.7%
San Francisco Symphony – $78,338,012. Brent Assink – $638,857 – 0.8%
Philadelphia Orchestra – $57,182,000. Allison Vulgamore – $610,446 – 1.1%
Cleveland Orchestra – $51,298,527. Gary Hanson – $584,498 – 1.1%
St. Louis Symphony – $26,597,756. Fred Bronstein – $394,572 – 1.5%
Houston Symphony – $25,817,059. Mark Hanson – $295,979 – 1.1%
Baltimore Symphony – $25,116,360. Paul Meecham – $261,843 – 1%
The Pittsburgh Symphony, Dallas Symphony, and Indianapolis Symphony were in a time of leadership transition so I left them out.
The Minnesota Orchestral Association’s expenses were $32,908,241. Mr. Henson’s compensation was $619,313… or 1.9% of expenses, roughly double the rate of other orchestras.
Edit, 1pm: The entry was altered. I – and my proofreaders! – made a (rather embarrassing) decimal error in calculating the percentages above. Apologies. But the point of the entry still stands.
As everyone who has been following the lockout knows, the Minnesota Orchestra posted a six million dollar deficit in FY 2012. Michael Henson’s compensation and bonuses would account for a full tenth of a six million dollar deficit.
OK, I’m done doing my imitation of a reporter. Bring on the completely unprofessional reaction GIFs.
What performance is Mr. Henson being rewarded for?
How common is it for non-profit arts organizations in dire financial straits to hand out massive bonuses?
What is he getting paid now?
If the board is acting so irresponsibly about finances now, what other things have they done irresponsibly? How can anyone trust this organization to use dollars wisely and prudently?
In short, what flavor Kool-Aid is the Minnesota Orchestra board of directors drinking? It must be awfully delicious.