New Imperial College president reveals pay

The new American president of Imperial College London has chosen to disclose her £421,000 pay package before she even starts in the job.

July 19, 2014

Alice Gast, who starts at Imperial in September, was paid total remuneration of $1,162,598 (£679,754) in 2011 in her current job as president of Lehigh University in the US.

Her total pay and pension package at Imperial, which includes a £16,000 estimate of the “taxable benefit” from living in a college-owned apartment in West London, although not the cost of the accommodation itself, falls some way short of that.

However, Professor Gast’s 2014-15 Imperial package amounts to a 28 per cent increase on the £330,000 awarded to her Imperial predecessor, Sir Keith O’Nions, in 2012-13 (the most recent figures available).

Her 2014-15 package would have made her the third highest-paid vice-chancellor in the UK in 2012-13, behind only Craig Calhoun of the London School of Economics and Andrew Hamilton of the University of Oxford.

But she may be pushed down the pecking order by the time the 2014-15 table becomes clear, as vice-chancellors’ salaries are likely to have continued their healthy rates of growth.

Imperial has published details of Professor Gast’s pay on its website.

An Imperial spokesman said: “Professor Gast has advised that her preference would be to make details of her emoluments available sooner than December 2015, which is when information about her first year at Imperial would otherwise first be published, in the College’s annual accounts for 2014-15.”

According to the Imperial website, Professor Gast’s £421,000 package breaks down into £349,138 of “remuneration”, “£16,000 (approx.)” under “other”, and an employer’s pension contribution of £55,862.

“Other” is described as “the estimate of the taxable benefit which the President will be assessed as receiving by living on campus in an apartment within 170 Queen’s Gate, South Kensington, a historic building that is used by the College for a range of official ceremonial and meeting functions. It is a requirement of the position that the President lives on campus.”

Imperial’s spokesman said: “In line with HMRC rules the accommodation itself is not a taxable benefit when it is necessary for the employee to live there to be able to do their work properly.”

He added: “The £16,000 refers to accommodation-related costs which are taxable benefits, such as utility services and the provision of furniture.”

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Reader's comments (4)

Good for her in being open about this! Whatever one thinks of the scale of renumeration of VCs, it is at least an excellent decision on Prof Gast's part to be transparent.
Perhaps, public sector workers and senior salaried executives of PLCs enjoying remuneration at these very high levels could be encouraged to donate a proportion of salary, say equivalent to a 10% tithe, to a charity that enables socially deprived pupils with potential ability in particular, gain entry to the best preforming independent preparatory schools especially, and thereby potentially benefit from the perceived enhanced opportunities for subsequent educational and career development in the best national institutions, including advantageous social networking. Other wealthy individuals etc. might then also behave more generously in this manner.
She (or her Comms team) are only being 'transparent' now to avoid the inevitable outrage that would come once the accounts were made available. it's a good PR move, that is all. Also let's not pretend that the apartment she's 'forced to live in' is not a small palace...
It took an FoI request.

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