Universities this week justified the average increase of 7.9 per cent in vice-chancellors’ salaries as being in line with that of top executives in public bodies and reflecting a competitive global market. But beyond this, universities remained reluctant to offer specific performance-related justifications for the rises awarded.
In the spirit of openness, The Times Higher asked several universities to cite examples of improved performance that merited reward.
Only Worcester University supplied specific details to justify the 20 per cent pay rise awarded to its vice-chancellor, David Green.
John Yelland, the chair of governors, said the increase reflected Professor Green’s "outstanding commitment and achievements". He said: "Under Professor Green’s leadership, we have secured full university status and seen a remarkable increase in our overall student numbers. Applications for 2007 show an incredible 41 per cent increase in degree applications."
Mr Yelland said that despite the rise in Professor Green’s salary, he was still in the bottom third of vice-chancellor salaries.
Keele University said Janet Finch’s 31 per cent increase was decided by comparisons with other institutions and excellent performance.
A spokesman said the salary had been reviewed by the Senior Remuneration Committee and would be fixed for three years.
He said: "Having last reviewed the vice-chancellor’s salary in 2003, the committee benchmarked the Keele emoluments against comparator universities and took the vice-chancellor’s outstanding performance during a period of cultural and procedural change and development into consideration."
Drummond Bone, the vice-chancellor of Liverpool University and president of Universities UK, received a 20 per cent increase in pay and benefits.
David McDonnell, president of Liverpool’s council, said: "In determining our vice-chancellor’s salary, we considered his exceptional level of contribution and salary levels in comparator institutions."
A Universities UK spokesperson said: "This year’s average remuneration level for v-cs is much lower than the average gross pay of directors and chief executives of major organisations."
- Bob Kiley , Transport for London, £1,146,425
- Adam Crozier , Royal Mail, £1,038,000
- John Armitt , Network Rail, £1,0,000
- Michael Parker , British Nuclear Fuels, £635,751
- Mark Thompson , BBC, £619,000
- John Tiner , Financial Services Authority, £572,619
- Richard Granger , NHS Connecting for Health, £285,000
- Ken Boston , Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, £236,066
- Sir Ian Blair , Metropolitan Police, £210,000
- Tony Blair , Prime Minister, £187,677
Source: Taxpayers’ Alliance
New leaders from diverse subjects
UK universities appointed a bumper crop of vice-chancellors in the past year, with the sector’s new leaders hailing from a wide variety of academic and institutional backgrounds, writes Rebecca Attwood.
When George Holmes, former principal of Doncaster College, was appointed vice-chancellor and chief executive of Bolton University last March at the age of 44, he became the youngest university chief in the country.
This month, this was matched when Anton Muscatelli, a 44-year-old economist and former vice-principal of Glasgow University, took over as principal of Heriot-Watt University.
Three women are among them. Joy Carter went from being pro vice-chancellor of Glamorgan University to head of Winchester University.
Julia King left Imperial College London, where she was principal of the faculty of engineering, to take the helm at Aston University. Patricia Broadfoot, former pro vice-chancellor of Bristol, became vice-chancellor of Gloucestershire University.
Professor King is not the only newly appointed head to have an engineering background.
Bob Cryan, a former head of engineering, went from being deputy vice-chancellor of Northumbria University to vice-chancellor of Huddersfield University, while David Tidmarsh, the former head of Anglia Ruskin University, is in charge of the University of Central England.
Geographers include Nigel Thrift, Oxford University’s former pro vice-chancellor for research, who became vice-chancellor of Warwick University, and John Cater, a geography lecturer at Edge Hill University who became its vice-chancellor in August.
Howard Newby, the former chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, became the new vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England a year ago.
John O’Reilly, former chief executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, took over as vice-chancellor of Cranfield University at the start of this year.
The latest crop of v-cs
- February 2006
Brunel: Chris Jenks; UWE: Howard Newby
- March 2006
Bolton: George Holmes
- April 2006
London School of Pharmacy:
Anthony Smith; Ulster: Richard Barnett; Winchester: Joy Carter
- August 2006
Soas: Paul Webley; Warwick: Nigel Thrift
- September 2006
East Anglia: Bill Macmillan; Gloucestershire: Patricia Broadfoot
- December 2006
Aston: Julia King
- January 2007
Anglia Ruskin: Mike Thorne; Central England: David Tidmarsh; Cranfield: John O’Reilly; Huddersfield: Bob Cryan; Newport: Peter Noyes
- February 2007
Heriot-Watt: Anton Muscatelli