Stan Mason, former principal of Glasgow Caledonian University, has been fired for gross misconduct following an inquiry into staffing practices. Professor Mason had been seeking an early retirement package since leaving his post on full salary in May.
Malcolm Campbell, chairman of the university court which set up the inquiry, said: "The report of the inquiry panel makes it quite clear that Professor Mason has abused his authority as principal by his intervention in decisions on staffing matters that should properly have been left to the university's established procedures."
Professor Mason's two sons were appointed to the university's bulk solids handling unit, while one of his daughters-in-law recently left a post in student services. A university spokesman refused to comment on the inquiry's findings on these appointments, saying its report would form part of a continuing Scottish Higher Education Funding Council inquiry.
John Sizer, chief executive of SHEFC, said: "It would not be appropriate for me to comment further in advance of the outcome of my ongoing investigation into propriety, accountability and value for money in the use of public funds at the university. The findings of my investigation will be passed to the National Audit Office who will report to the Public Accounts Committee."
Professor Mason was Scotland's highest paid principal with a 1995/96 salary topping Pounds 123,000.
Acting principal Bill Laurie said the inquiry panel, chaired by Michael Graham, a lawyer and lay member of court, had inevitably had a time-consuming task in making a thorough investigation.
The inquiry panel also found that the university's staffing procedures were not "fully developed to the high standards expected of a large organisation". A staff affairs committee would now be set up as a standing committee of court.