- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - The University of Oregon’s new, independent board of trustees is considering a big bump in compensation for the new president it will recruit next year.

The trustees are also considering how to structure the compensation, with discussion of features such as a signing bonus, pay-for-performance compensation, use of a jet for work trips, penalties for early departure and deferred compensation.

The package could total $600,000 to $800,000 a year, the Eugene Register-Guard (https://bit.ly/1A7mrFV) reported Tuesday.

That would handily top the $544,000 annual package of previous president Michael Gottfredson.

The incentives the board is discussing are common “in worlds where we come from,” said trustee Connie Ballmer, who chairs the presidential search committee.

She and her husband, Steve, former Microsoft CEO, recently gave the university $50 million for scholarships and research and to help with a branding campaign.

The new board took over July 1, approved by the Legislature after a campaign led by prominent and wealthy graduates.

A little more than a month later, Gottfredson resigned abruptly. He was the second straight president, not counting interim leaders, to serve two years.

The new chairman of the trustees, Chuck Lillis, has cited the churn as a reason for conducting the presidential search in a new way, largely in private and with fewer people involved.

Trustee Allyn Ford, CEO of Roseburg Forest Products, said seeking a new president will be “trying to pull somebody away from an existing job. Whether they look at this job as a step up, we don’t know.”

When the board is looking at someone running an organization, “who’s comfortable and doing a good job, and you’re asking for somebody to come in and make that move, you’ve got to pay more money,” Ford said.

Susan Gary, a law professor who represents faculty members on the board, said raises for top administrators have outstripped those for others at the school, and the executive compensation is about the median among schools.

“That to me seems about right - if not high - given that our faculty salaries, and for other people who work at the university, are below median,” she said.

Gottfredson’s salary was $444,004 annually, and he was promised deferred compensation of $100,000 for each year he worked.

Other compensation included a $1,200 monthly vehicle stipend; a house; medical, dental and life insurance; state retirement benefits; paid vacation; paid sick leave; and fee privileges, such as reduced tuition for family members. His contract also promised him a professorship at the university if he stepped down.

He got a severance package of about $940,000.

Ballmer said the presidential search will be launched in January and can capitalize on the university’s Jan. 1 Rose Bowl appearance and the public launch of the branding campaign.


Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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