David Cronin, who stepped down as president and CEO of the American Ireland Funds (AIF) in May 2020 after less than a year at the role, was paid $645,107 in 2020.

The massive payment included a severance payout of $275,004 to Cronin “per his voluntary separation agreement”, according to tax documentation as reported by the Irish Examiner.

Cronin's base pay in 2020 totaled $286,767, and he received a $70,000 bonus. He also received $13,336 in non-taxable benefits, the Irish Examiner reports.

Cronin’s 2019 pay was $250,962 and a bonus of $80,000. 

Regarding the 2020 severance payment to Cronin, a spokeswoman for the AIF said: “The payment was pursuant to Mr. Cronin’s employment contract which was subject to review and approval by the compensation committee of the board; and included an analysis by an outside compensation consultant to benchmark with similar US non-governmental organizations and charity organizations.”

Cronin was appointed to the prestigious role in April 2019. He said at the time: “I recognize this appointment as a genuine privilege and am absolutely committed to the future success of the Ireland Funds.”

Cronin officially took on the job in June 2019 and departed less than a year later in May 2020. Like with almost every other charity, the Covid-19 pandemic made fundraising very difficult.

Cronin, a native of Co Kerry, has since returned to Ireland after his brief tenure at the helm of America’s largest Irish charity. It was reported at the time that Cronin left for family reasons.

As chief executive of the University of Limerick Foundation for more than a decade prior to his post with AIF, Cronin had raised $100 million, much of it via Irish American philanthropist Chuck Feeney.

Cronin was succeeded by Caitriona Fottrell, who has been a major figure in the growth of the Ireland Funds. She took up her post on June 30, 2020.

In 2018, the fund had filed a lawsuit to recover stolen funds. 2019 tax filings revealed that the charity had a total of $711,875 embezzled from its Dallas office between 2015 and 2017.