Mitch Daniels' New Contract: More At-risk Pay, $1M In Incentives

Oct 8, 2015

The President can earn $100,000 if he's still with the school on June 30, 2016 -- and that bonus has $50,000 added to it every year after.
Credit Mark Simons/Purdue University

Purdue University President Mitch Daniels is set to receive more than $113,000 from the school, based on the previous year’s performance at his job.

The full Purdue Board of Trustees is expected to approve a motion Friday morning granting Daniels 90-percent of his at-risk pay for the previous year, but it took some interesting math to reach that number.

The pay is broken down into four areas in which Daniels is judged: student affordability, student success, fundraising and the school’s reputation.

The president was supposed to earn a maximum of $37,800 if he helped Purdue meet fundraising goals. But trustees gave him more than $50,000 for that because they felt he’d done so well. They also gave him more than the maximum for increasing Purdue’s brand exposure in the last year.

If the trustees had stuck to the original scoring system, Daniels would have earned just 76-percent of his possible pay – and he’d have lost almost $18,000.

The Trustees also gave preliminary approval to extending Daniels’ contract by two years, putting more of Daniels’ pay at-risk in the future and giving him an increasing bonus for every year he stays at Purdue.

Trustees Chairman Michael Berghoff says the Board felt it needed to sweeten the pot, because the president is getting other job offers.

“It’s not a stretch to think that having President Daniels courted by others is unrealistic – it’s happening now," Berghoff says. "It didn’t prompt this -- a specific request from somebody else didn’t prompt this -- but it clearly is one of the reasons why we put it in there.”

Daniels is set to receive $100,000 if he’s with Purdue at the end of this fiscal year on June 30, 2016. That compensation increases by $50,000 every year, and could mean an additional $1 million if Daniels stays through the proposed end of his contract in 2020.

Daniels insists he’s not in the job for the money, but he says the trustees may be trying to raise the money available to whoever succeeds him.

“The next person, whenever that is, may well be much more intent on the amount of pay than happened to be the case with me,” Daniels says.

The 90-percent at-risk pay for the past year is up from the 88-percent Daniels was given last year.