Saturday, June 13, 2015

Peter Gelb Paid $2.1 Million As MET Opera Deficit Balloons

"The Metropolitan Opera disclosed on Friday that its general manager, Peter Gelb, earned a total of $2.1 million in salary and benefits in 2013 but said a pay cut he took last year remains in effect. Mr. Gelb’s 2013 compensation was detailed in a tax filing released by the Met at the close of a challenging period marked by labor strife and financial setbacks. The opera company’s operating budget for the 2013-14 season was $315 million, down about 3.5% from the previous season. Its deficit ballooned in the same period, rising to $22 million from $2.8 million. In December, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the Met’s credit rating, citing a 'marked decline in liquidity' and the company’s increased reliance on an operating line of credit. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed the company’s 'A' bond rating in April but revised its
outlook to negative based on the budget shortfall and 'considerably weaker financial performance.' A Met spokesman on Friday said the opera would have a balanced budget for the current fiscal year, which ends July 31. As a result of agreements brokered with its unions last August, the company cut $11.5 million in expenses and 22 administrative jobs. While Mr. Gelb’s base salary in 2013 was the same as the previous year—about $1.5 million—the value of his overall compensation package increased by 15%, according to the filing. The Met attributed the boost to a deferred retirement plan established by an anonymous donor, which it said 'is only payable upon the fulfillment of his current contract.' The arrangement was initiated in 2012 and is similar to that devised for the previous general manager, Joseph Volpe, according to the filing. Mr. Gelb’s total retirement and deferred compensation in 2013 was $433,958, up from $145,039 the previous year. In April 2014, Mr. Gelb took a 10% pay cut that lowered his salary to $1.4 million, where it remains, according to the Met. Last June, as the company proposed union pay cuts of 16% to 17%, the Met said Mr. Gelb was prepared to take another decrease to match the percentage taken by the Met’s union employees. They ultimately agreed to cuts that amounted to about 7% for most of them. Union members were also among the Met’s highest-paid workers in 2013, according to the tax filing. Three members of the stagehands union, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One, each made more than $460,000 in 2013. Two were department heads, and the other is an assistant department head. Meanwhile, chorus master Donald Palumbo earned $535,283 that year, while concertmaster David Chan earned $413,405." [Source]

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