Q&A: How Much Does a Managing Director Make?

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • July 24, 2023
How Much Does a Managing Director Make
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Managing directors, or executive directors, hold influential positions within organizations—overseeing operations and creating a business strategy to drive success. It’s natural to wonder about the financial rewards accompanying such a crucial leadership role.

Amidst the ever-evolving business landscape, executives need solutions to streamline operations and optimize productivity. A meeting software for directors, board chairs, and trustees offers a convenient platform for seamless communication, efficient document sharing, and enhanced collaboration among key stakeholders.

Read on to learn more about managing director compensation and how OnBoard empowers effective managing directors.

What is a Managing Director?

A managing director is a high-level executive position within an organization. The responsibilities and scope of the role vary depending on the industry, company size, and organizational structure. In some organizations, the terms managing director and chief executive officer may be used interchangeably. 

Like nonprofit executive directors, managing directors serve on the executive board and report directly to the board of directors or shareholders. They prove crucial in making critical business decisions, formulating policies, and driving the company’s growth and success.

On the other hand, non-executive directors serve on the board of directors, but are not involved in the company’s day-to-day operations. They provide independent oversight, advice, and guidance to the executive directors and senior management team. 

For organizational growth, several parties must work together for excellent business administration. Apart from managing directors, nominee directors contribute to the company’s success. They provide input, advice, and guidance based on the interests of the nominating party.

Managing directors provide organizations with the following benefits:

  • Strategic leadership: They are responsible for setting the vision, mission, and goals of the company, and they guide the organization in achieving them.
  • Operational oversight: Managing directors oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization, ensuring the company’s resources, including human resources, finances, and assets, are effectively managed and utilized.
  • Decision-making: They evaluate risks, analyze market trends, and consider various factors to make informed decisions aligning with the company’s objectives. Their decisions may include investments, expansion plans, partnerships, acquisitions, and resource allocation.
  • Financial performance: They monitor financial indicators, implement strategies to increase revenue, manage costs, and ensure profitability.

Managing Director Compensation

Managing directors are among the highest-paid executives within organizations due to the level of responsibility and leadership they hold. In larger corporations and financial institutions, managing directors receive:

  • A base salary that serves as a fixed portion of their overall compensation. The base salary varies significantly based on company size, industry, and geographic location.
  • Performance-based bonuses may be tied to individual, team, or company performance targets. These bonuses can be annual or multi-year incentives.
  • Stock options and equity grants allow them to purchase company stock at a predetermined price or receive shares directly.
  • Benefits and perks like health insurance, retirement plans, vacation allowances, car allowances, club memberships, or executive travel benefits.

According to Glassdoor, a managing director’s base pay averages $170,622 annually, with an additional payment (bonus and profit sharing) of $193,638.

Factors Influencing Managing Director Compensation

There are several factors that significantly influence managing director compensation. These factors are considered by organizations when determining the appropriate level of compensation for managing directors. 

1. Location

In major cities, expenses such as housing, transportation, and daily necessities tend to be higher. To attract and retain top talent in these areas, organizations may offer higher compensation packages to offset the increased cost of living and ensure managing directors can maintain a desirable standard of living.

Managing directors in smaller or less expensive areas may receive comparatively lower compensation packages due to the lower cost of living and potentially less intense competition for executive positions.

2. Experience

Managing directors with extensive industry experience, a proven track record of success, and a history of driving growth and profitability are often offered higher compensation packages due to the value they bring to the organization.

The level of experience a managing director possesses demonstrates their ability to navigate complex business environments, make informed decisions, and lead teams effectively. Organizations recognize the value of seasoned executives who have honed their skills and knowledge over years of working in their respective industries.

3. Education

The educational background of a managing director, including advanced degrees, specialized certifications, and ongoing professional development, can command higher compensation due to the enhanced skills, knowledge, and market value they bring to the role. 

In addition, ongoing professional development and executive education can enhance a managing director’s skills and market value, as they are up to date with industry trends, emerging technologies, and evolving business practices.

4. Performance History

Organizations closely evaluate a managing director’s track record of success, considering factors such as revenue growth, profitability, successful project implementations, and effective leadership when assessing their performance history.

Companies also consider industry benchmarks, market trends, and the performance of peer organizations when evaluating managing director compensation based on past performance. It ensures the compensation offered is competitive and reflects the value the managing director brings to the organization.

OnBoard Powers Effective Managing Directors

To excel in leadership, managing directors require effective tools and solutions to streamline operations, enhance collaboration, and optimize productivity, making OnBoard an invaluable software to incorporate. 

OnBoard features and capabilities allow seamless communication, efficient document sharing, and enhanced collaboration among key stakeholders. By leveraging OnBoard’s robust features and intuitive interface, managing directors can effectively manage board meetings, make informed decisions, and drive organizational success.

Download our customizable board meeting agenda template to create well-structured and effective agendas that streamline meeting preparation, improve communication, and drive better organizational outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Do Managing Directors Work Full-Time?

    As top-level executives responsible for overseeing an organization's operations and strategic direction, managing directors are engaged in their roles full-time.

  • How Can Managing Directors Improve their Leadership Skills?

    Managing directors can improve their leadership skills through ongoing professional development, executive education programs, networking with other industry leaders, seeking mentorship, and staying current on industry trends.

About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.