Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Context: Managing Director Salaries

A while back, there was a flurry of discussion about Artistic Director salaries. Playgoer did an excellent job examining NYC artistic director salaries, and I plucked a few anonymously. While I think this discussion was pretty dynamic and the direction it went was interesting, I thought we might throw these salaries into a more accessible context.

Here in Asheville, there is a grocery chain called Ingles, which operates 197 supermarkets in six southeastern states. This last quarter, they had net sales of $771M. If you multiply that number by four, you get an approximation of their net sales for the year. Divide it by 197 stores, and you get the average net sales per store: $15.65M.

The income for the Goodman Theatre was $15.89M, according to Charity The managing director of that organization -- not the artistic director, the managing director -- was paid $340,021.

So here's my question: do you think, if I drove over to the Ingles a few blocks away, that the manager of the store is being paid $340,ooo a year?


Anonymous said...

What's the quarterly operating budget for Ingles and what's the quarterly operating budget for the theatre? Including rent, utilities, salaries, inventory, maintenance, et.

I don't know what the answer is, but that might have something to do with it.

Hans said...

That's quite a lot of money, and my gut instinct is that it's probably not justified. But the comparison doesn't have much value, because there are many more people who can manage an Ingles than can manage a major arts organization. I really don't think a manager at Ingles (especially the poorly-run store on Merrimon) would be able to do it.

Anonymous said...

I echo Hans point. We can certainly make the argument that other people in the arts should be paid more then they are currently making but running the freakin' Goodman isn't easy.

Also (and not to be a goodman apologist) the ED of the Goodman has been with the company for 16 years and is a huge part of the reason why they are where they are.

Scott Walters said...

director -- I don't know what you mean by operating budget. I mean, wouldn't a grocery store operating budget include handling all the food ordering.

Adam and Hans -- Just curious -- what is it about running a theatre that is many times more difficult than managing all the daily decisions involved in a grocery store? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Nevermind, Scott. I misread the post. Sorry :)

Anonymous said...

Actually the ED of the Goodman has been there over 30 years, just not necessarily in that post the whole time. The AD salary there fluctuates a bit year to year, my guess being that it depends on if he is directing any shows that year or not. It is usually comparable, if not higher, to the ED's. The online version of the charity filings does not show the full charity report, which asks for the top five paid people in the organization. At the Goodman, the MD is actually third: AD and ED first and second, depending on the year, and then the MD. (From what I have noticed) ED is in charge of the whole shebang, AD deals with the obvious programming and direction of the theatre, and MD directs how the $$$ will be spent.

And, while I have certainly questioned funding and salary priorities there at times, the Goodman's ED earns every penny, IMHO.

-Normally not Anonymous

Philucifer said...

I generally see what you're saying, Scott. But I really don't think the position of Managing Director at a theater is the same as Store Manager at a grocery store -- it just doesn't compare on a 1:1 level.

I'd say a production's Stage Manager and a Grocery Store Manager are comparable, while a Managing Director of a theater and the CFO of the Ingles Corporation are a better fit by comparison.

Just semantics, really . . .

Anonymous said...

Scott, I so agree with your point, but I must commend philucifer in calling you on the poor comparison. I would think that you could have found many better one, because I do believe that some leaders are paid too much.

However, ya just can't compare a store manager to the leader of a theater. Did you consider the salary of franchise owner of those stores? That might be more in line.

Also, the store manager is not usually on the Board of the chain, but the MD of the theater ususally is. So, the MD is actually financially liable if s/he runs the company into the ground. A store manager is not.

Also, also, doesn't the Goodman have more than one theater. If you're gonna divide up the chain, then shouldn't you divide the MD's salary by the number of theaters/stores?

Then there's the intellectual property created by the theater. A store manager may order the re-stocking of supplies, but rarely does that person pick which items that are actually sold (the season).

I could go on, but it would be much better just to pick a more analogous example rather than give folks the wrong impression. thanks.

Freeman said...

Scott - A grocery store? Really? That seems like apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

I notice you note the "net" income for the store but not the net for the theatre. There's obviously a huge difference betweeen a theatre and a grocery store manager but I know other people have already said that. I'm just miffed at why you're questioning the salary - as if you know their background or qualifications. I say "good on them" for getting paid what they do. This is America baby - go for it.

Think Again: Funding and Budgets in the Arts

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