New Health Sciences SVC to earn $1.4 million annually


Pitt’s new Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Anantha Shekhar will receive total compensation of at least $1.4 million, the Board of Trustees Compensation Committee voted on May 26.

Shekhar, who also will serve as dean of the School of Medicine and an officer of the board, was selected in January after a nearly year-long search and approved by the Board of Trustees at its February meeting. He will officially start at Pitt on June 1, where he will oversee all six health sciences schools, more than 6,000 faculty and staff, and approximately 5,000 students while working closely with UPMC.   

His yearly compensation package includes a base salary of $1 million, along with five $100,000 payments in annual deferred retention incentives that he will receive if he remains in the position until May 31, 2025. Shekhar also will be eligible for an annual performance bonus — a minimum of $300,000, up to a maximum of 40 percent of his then-current salary.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said at the committee meeting that the salary figures were arrived at by doing a comparison with other top-funded National Institutes of Health institutions. That comparison found a median salary of $1.65 million for leaders of these programs and a minimum of $1.3 million. In 2019, Pitt was fourth on the list of top NIH-funded institutions.

The $1.4 million for Shenkar’s first year, Gallagher said, is “consistent with the pay philosophy of the University, offering a competitive and reasonable salary.”

Arthur Levine, who has held both jobs for the past 20 years, announced in January 2019 that he planned to transition to a role as a researcher looking for a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Levine has for the past several years been the highest-paid academic officer at Pitt. His base salary was set at $911,730 in December, plus what he earned from UPMC.

Gallagher also said that Shekhar’s salary will be entirely paid for by the University. In the past, UPMC has paid a portion of the senior vice chancellor’s salary. “This reflects the maturing scale of this position and the fact the position has a primary responsibility to represent the interests of the University with UPMC,” Gallagher said.

Shekhar has already agreed to join other members of Gallagher’s senior leadership team in donating 10 percent of his base salary back to the University to help in pandemic recovery. The donations will come in the 2020-21 fiscal year and will go toward the general scholarship fund, which provides tuition assistance to Pitt students.

Shekhar comes to Pitt from Indiana University School of Medicine, where he was executive associate dean for research affairs. Shekhar was born in India and earned his medical degree from St. John’s Medical College there and Ph.D. in neuroscience at Indiana University.

Provost Ann Cudd chaired the search committee to replace Levine, and Steve Shapiro, a professor in the School of Medicine and chief medical officer of UPMC, served as vice chair. More than half of the committee members were from the schools of the Health Sciences, with staff, faculty and students represented.

Gallagher said at the February board meeting that “we have found an outstanding leader for Pitt’s world-class health science schools.”

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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