Board committee sets salary for new health sciences chief


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A board of trustees committee voted Tuesday to approve a seven-figure salary for Anantha Shekhar, Pitt’s new health sciences chief.

By Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief

The board of trustees’ compensation committee voted unanimously Tuesday to set a seven-figure compensation package for Anantha Shekhar, the incoming senior vice chancellor for the health sciences, dean of the School of Medicine and University officer. The committee met at a public meeting streamed via YouTube.

Shekhar will receive a $1-million base salary in 2020 and be eligible for an annual performance bonus of at least $300,000 up to a maximum of 40% of his current base salary. He will also receive an additional $100,000 every year for his first five years, but the $500,000 total will be paid in 2025, as an incentive for Shekhar to stay in his position for that long, similar to a clause in Chancellor Patrick Gallagher’s contract that expired in 2019. Dr. Arthur Levine, his predecessor who is transitioning to a research-oriented role at Pitt’s Brain Institute, is set to earn a base salary of $911,730 in 2020.

Gallagher said at the meeting that Pitt calculated Shekhar’s salary by using a peer group of leaders for other top-funded National Institutes of Health centers for universities with medical schools that receive NIH funding. He said the median total compensation for this group is $1.65 million, and minimum compensation is about $1.1 million.

“The NIH peer group gives us a mixture of public and private at some of the top medical centers in the country,” Gallagher said. “We believe this is consistent with the pay philosophy of the University, offering a competitive and reasonable salary.”

The board confirmed Shekhar, the outgoing executive associate dean of research affairs at the Indiana University School of Medicine, at its February meeting. He will officially take the helm on June 1.

Gallagher added that Shekhar has volunteered to donate 10% of his salary to students, matching the actions of the seven other senior vice chancellors. Shekhar’s salary will also be fully paid by Pitt, a departure from when part of the position’s salary was paid by UPMC.

The committee approved 2020 salaries for all other University officers at a meeting last December.

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