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Compensation

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This report lists salaries of the CEOs of the 100 largest Chicago-area trade and professional groups. Information comes from IRS Form 990, the disclosure document filed by tax-exempt organizations, for fiscal years 2011 or 2012—the latest available.

Staffers working for Washington, D.C.-based trade groups among best paid, with 35 people earning more than $1 million in the latest tax year. Pay for this group of top-drawer staffers increased by a median of 7.7 percent. Even for the lowest paid on the list, this nets more than a $40,000 increase. Base and bonus pay increases were more on the modest side.

This report lists the 200 highest paid staffers at associations and public interest groups. The information is gathered from the IRS Form 990, the disclosure document filed by tax-exempt organizations, for fiscal years 2011 or 2012—the latest data available. The earnings column shows the combination of base pay, bonuses and other compensation paid during the tax year. The deferred column is the amount earned but not yet paid. The nontax column includes the value of nontaxable benefits. Go online to sort this chart by organization name.

More data still to emerge, but those leading larger trade groups, like U.S. Chamber’s Donohue, tend to outpace the field. A handful of chief executives appear on the highest paid list as the result of one-time supplemental executive retirement payouts, but this doesn’t mean those CEOs are leaving. SERP payments are paid throughout a CEO’s tenure as stipulated by a contract.

Panelists at a CEO Update Live event say that more association executives are pushing for larger packages. “The real argument for an association executive is that you are working for an organization that has a change of leadership, generally, every year,” attorney Art Herold said.

Severance payments to chief executives generally seem to rise with tenure; one such payout equates to three times base compensation. Still, CEO paychecks from professional associations are smaller than those from trade groups: Median take-home pay for professional society CEOs was $324,010, while median pay for trade group CEOs was $471,125

Oct. 17, 2013

Interstate Natural Gas Association of America CEO Donald Santa’s take-home pay jumped 37 percent in 2012 to $1.7 million. Unlike previous years, he received $453,805 in other compensation, likely from a retirement payout. That doesn’t mean Santa is retired or retiring. Supplemental retirement payouts during the course of employment are common for association CEOs. INGAA, an $8.9 million organization, also reported paying deferred compensation of $551,165 for Santa.

Sept. 20, 2013

American Bankers Association chief Frank Keating’s first full-year salary topped $1.7 million, according to the group’s latest tax document. That’s slightly less than Keating received in his last full year as head of the American Council of Life Insurers, when he received $1.8 million.

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