The annual earnings received by Sir Richard Sykes as rector of Imperial College London - some £250,000 last year, placing him second in the league table of vice-chancellors' pay - do not form the lion's share of his income. For starters, the pension he receives from his previous post as chief executive of Glaxo Wellcome nets him £700,000 a year. But even so, The Diary was gobsmacked to learn that Sir Richard received £941,000 from GlaxoSmithKline last year as a reward for failing to sell his share options in the company. The payment stemmed from incentives put in place when GSK was created through the merger of Glaxo Wellcome with Smithkline Beecham in 2000. As a holder of options, Sir Richard was promised a cash payment equal to 10 per cent of their gross value if he held them for two years.