Sir Christopher Snowden, the vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton, has emerged as one of the UK’s most highly paid higher education leaders, on a pay package totalling £433,000.
Sir Christopher’s pay and pension contributions for 2016-17 emerged in a financial report published by the university, and compare to the £352,000 he was paid the previous year for the 10 months that he was employed.
Meanwhile, universities minister Jo Johnson cited the £352,000 pay package of Sir Christopher in June as a prime example of the “sharp increase” in executive pay, saying that Southampton’s head was paid just £227,000 in 2009-10.
Dame Glynis Breakwell, the vice-chancellor of the University of Bath and the UK’s highest-paid university leader, this week announced that she would step down at the end of the academic year, after months of controversy over her salary. She is on a remuneration package worth £468,000.
In Times Higher Education’s latest survey of vice-chancellors’ pay, based on 2015-16 data, Sir Andrew Likierman, former dean of London Business School, was the only other institutional leader who earned more than £433,000, with a pay package worth £445,000.
Sally Hunt, the University and College Union general secretary, said that the details of Sir Christopher’s salary “demonstrates just how out of touch university vice-chancellors can be”.
“Professor Snowden was already one of the best-paid vice-chancellors in the UK, on a salary that had been publicly questioned by the universities minister,” she said. “To accept this kind of pay rise while saying he must axe 75 academic jobs because money is tight beggars belief. As does the fact that he has also recently advertised for an executive chauffeur.”
A spokesman at the University of Southampton said that Sir Christopher was “awarded a salary increment of 1.1 per cent in line with the higher education national pay award”.
“This was the only increase in his remuneration since his appointment and he has declined a similar increment for 2017-18. The lower salary figure published for 2015-16 reflected only 10 months of his first year spent in office,” he said.
Gill Rider, chair of the university council, added that Sir Christopher’s pay package “reflects his experience”.
“World-class capable leaders are needed to ensure that the UK’s universities become one of the stars in the UK’s post-Brexit export strategy,” she said.
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