Affiliated Managers Group – or AMG, as it is listed on the New York Stock Exchange – announced on January 8 that it has appointed CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez to its board of directors. The firm describes itself as a “global asset management company with equity investments in leading boutique investment management firms.” While it is not uncommon for university managers to sit on the boards of charitable organizations, the appointment of the chancellor of the largest public urban university in the country to a company whose aim is to increase the wealth of the wealthy raises serious questions. The other members of AMG’s board come from the world of private-sector asset management.
Among the chancellor’s other board appointments at the United Way of New York City and the American Council on Education, his seat at the table of big capital seems especially odd. But there is some consistency here: Bill Thompson, the chairman of the CUNY Board of Trustees, also has parallel interests in big business as the chief administrative officer at Siebert Williams Shank & Co., a firm offering investment banking, sales and trading, research, advisory, and asset management services.
One question on people’s minds: How much does this side job add to the chancellor’s current salary? Upon Matos Rodríguez’s appointment as CUNY chancellor in Spring 2019, Clarion reported that he would be paid an annual salary of $670,000, in addition to a $7,500 monthly housing stipend.
Neither AMG nor the CUNY administration would confirm how much, if any, compensation the chancellor is receiving for his service at AMG, but financial disclosure review of the firm, which operates offices across North America, Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and Australia, offers some clues. Total compensation given to its board members, including stock awards, option awards and cash payments, ranged from $280,066 to $401,566 per member.
INSULT TO INJURY
As for any possible conflicts of interest regarding the chancellor’s appointment to the AMG board, CUNY spokesperson Frank Sobrino said, “The chancellor requested and received approval from the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics prior to accepting the position.”
The chancellor has not announced or commented publicly on his appointment, though it is clear from his previous comments that Matos Rodríguez believes CUNY will need to rely increasingly on partnerships with the for-profit sector.
PSC activists have noted that the news about the chancellor and AMG adds insult to injury for CUNY staff and faculty, having endured increasing economic and professional hardships since the beginning of the pandemic, including the dismissal of adjuncts and the increase in class sizes.
THOSE LEFT BEHIND
“It is not surprising that Chancellor Matos Rodríguez has accepted a position at a finance board where he can expect an additional compensation of hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of his $670,000 salary from CUNY,” said Rosa Squillacote, the PSC’s vice president of part-time personnel. “One hopes he enjoys his climb to being a millionaire, while CUNY cannot afford to keep part-timers hired, let alone paid a decent wage. Chancellor Matos has overseen a dark period in CUNY’s history.”