Regents approve increased compensation for UC executives

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Compensation packages for new executives across the UC system drew mixed responses from the UC Board of Regents at its Thursday meeting.

Jagdeep Singh Bachher, whom the regents appointed Thursday as the university’s chief investment officer, and Claude Steele, who was selected earlier this month to be UC Berkeley’s next executive vice chancellor and provost, will receive higher base salaries than their predecessors. While Bachher’s compensation package was approved without opposition, Steele’s drew fire from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

When Steele replaces retiring EVCP George Breslauer at the end of March, he will receive an annual base compensation of $450,000 in addition to a one-time allowance and bonus totaling $135,000.

In 2012, Scott Waugh, executive vice chancellor and provost at UCLA, was compensated about $375,000. UCSF’s EVCP, Jeffrey Bluestone, made about $446,000 the same year. Breslauer’s annual salary is $370,000.
“My concern is self-evident,” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told the regents. “It’s more than any other provost in the entire system.”

Newsom and Regent Norman Pattiz voted against approving Steele’s compensation.

Still, Regent George Kieffer said Steele would be making about $165,000 less per year than he would if he had stayed at Stanford University as its Graduate School of Education dean.
“There are an extraordinarily small number of people who have the skills, experience, knowledge and academic credentials necessary to oversee a $1.4 billion academic enterprise,” said Claire Holmes, UC Berkeley associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs, in an email. “They are highly sought after by our peers and competitors, and acknowledging the reality of the employment market is necessary for a successful recruitment.”

Unlike Steele’s pay, which will be covered in part or whole through state funds, Bachher’s entire compensation will come from nonstate sources.

The regents unanimously approved Bachher’s base annual compensation of $615,000 — $145,000 more than the base pay of his predecessor, who did not receive a raise in six years — and he will be eligible to participate in the Office of the Chief Investment Officer’s annual incentive plan, through which he can be awarded up to 165 percent of his base salary based on his performance.

When he assumes his new role April 1, Bachher will be responsible for managing more than $80 billion in UC assets, including pension and endowment pools. He joins the university from one of Canada’s largest institutional investment fund managers, where he is currently an executive vice president.

“Working to ensure the health and longevity of the university’s financial assets has a direct impact on UC’s educational, research and public service mission,” Bachher said in a press release. “This is a chance to really make a difference.”

In the past, students across the UC system have at times advocated for divestment from controversial companies, such as those affiliated with the Israeli government. However, UC spokesperson Dianne Klein said Bachher will report to the Board of Regents on investment matters and will not be able to make any changes without their approval.

The Regents also approved pay increases for two UC head coaches. Regent Kenneth Feingold expressed a desire to link future compensation increases for coaches to the academic performance of their student-athletes. No state funding goes toward either coach position.

The regents also discussed internal audit activities and a report on ethics and compliance activities. The board’s next meeting will be held March 19 to 20 at the UCSF Mission Bay campus.

Mitchell Handler covers academics and administration. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @mitchellhandler.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted Jagdeep Singh Bachher as speaking at the UC Board of Regents meeting. In fact, the quote came from a press release.