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Private Equity

Operating executive compensation trends in North America: 2016

2/9/2017 Jonathan Goldstein, Mohd Arsalan, Samantha Lassoff and Larry Oberfeld
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 Operating executive compensation trends in North America 2016

Heidrick & Struggles invited operating executives working at private equity firms to participate in an online compensation survey. We received responses about salaries, bonuses, and carried interest plans from 169 operating executives. In addition to questions on compensation, we asked respondents to provide information on their background, the scope of their role, and how their firm is structured.

Compensation for private equity operating executives remained stable in 2016 with the vast majority of respondents reporting no change in their base salary from 2015 to 2016. Only 12.6% of the survey respondents had been previously employed by the general partner (GP), reversing the trend of GPs hiring operating executives from successfully exited portfolio companies. Half (50.9%) of surveyed operating executives were employed by the GP at the time of the survey, while 27.5% were self-employed and 21.6% were employed by a separate legal entity or the operating company. These responses reflect the mix of team structures for operating professionals across the private equity sector.

For the full report, 2016 North American Operating Executive Compensation Survey, click the download link above.

About the authors

Mohd Arsalan ( leads the research team for Heidrick & Struggles’ Private Equity Practice; he is based in the Gurgaon office.

Jonathan Goldstein ( is a partner in the New York office; he leads the Private Equity Sector in the Americas.

Samantha Lassoff ( is the practice director of the Private Equity Practice; she is based in the New York office.

Larry Oberfeld ( is an associate in the New York office; he is the thought leadership specialist for the Private Equity Practice.

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