Metropolitan Museum’s executives rake in fat pay despite COVID cuts


The money-hemorrhaging Metropolitan Museum’s two top execs – President Daniel Weiss and Director Max Hollein — had total compensation packages over $1 million each in 2020 despite pandemic austerity measures, the museum’s newly released tax filing shows

Weiss’ base salary decreased by 8 percent in 2020 to $958,219, but his total compensation with a housing allowance and other benefits came to $1.3 million. Hollein had a similar reduction in salary to $914,342 and ended up with total comp of $1.2 million.

Lauren Meserve, the museum’s chief investment officer and highest paid employee in 2020, received a total pay package of $1.7 million, including a $639,142 salary — down 3.2 percent from the previous year — and a bonus of $681,225.

Weiss and Hollein took 20 percent pay cuts, but those cuts lasted six months, and part of Meserve’s compensation is tied to the performance of the Met’s investments, said museum spokesman Kenneth Weine.

Max Hollein, Met director
Met Director Max Hollein took a six-month 20% pay cut but still brought home $1.2 million in total compensation.
Christina Horsten/picture alliance via Getty Images
President and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Daniel H. Weiss
President Daniel Weiss saw his base salary fall by 8 percent but received $1.3 million in total compensation that included benefits like a housing allowance.
Getty Images
The MET
The MET was forced to close for about six months in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Giovanni Mereghetti/UCG/Universal Images Group

The museum’s revenue plummeted when it closed for nearly six months in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It laid off 222 employees, and another 90 took voluntary early-retirement packages, Weine said, adding that 163 of those who were let go were union members, primarily security guards, and all had been offered back their jobs.

The Upper East Side institution’s had a $7.7 million deficit in the 2020 fiscal year and $7.6 million the next year, according to its annual report. It used $164 million from its endowment last year to shore up its finances, the report said.



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