University vice-chancellors were paid £260,000 on average in the last academic year, a pay survey by the University and College Union shows
Neil Gorman, who was then vice-chancellor at Nottingham Trent University, earned the most in 2013-14 with his total benefits amounting to £623,000.
Other high earners include Malcolm Gillies, who retired as vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan University last year, who, as Times Higher Education previously reported, earned a total of £453,000 in his final year in charge.
A total of 18 vice-chancellors enjoyed a benefits hike of more than 10 per cent, the UCU says.
Seven universities paid their vice-chancellor more than £400,000 in salaries, bonuses, other benefits and pension contributions, the union said.
Sally Hunt, the UCU’s general secretary, said that the “lack of transparency and accountability surrounding senior pay and perks [was] a national scandal”.
It follows a request for the minutes of universities’ remuneration committees, which set the salaries of vice-chancellors.
Only half the institutions provided a copy of the minutes, of which one-third (26) had been redacted to obscure key information, the union says.
“Even where minutes of the committee tasked with setting senior pay were supplied they were often redacted to the point where they were rendered meaningless,” said Ms Hunt.
The union also requested information about the expenses incurred by vice-chancellors, including flights, hotels and other expenses.
Craig Calhoun, director of the London School of Economics, had the highest expenditure on first-class or business-class flights with a total bill in 2013-14 of nearly £60,000.
The LSE said that the flights – none of which was first class – were taken to cement the school’s links with other international universities, businesses and non-governmental organisations, such as its formal academic partnerships with universities in New York, Paris, Singapore, Cape Town and Beijing.
On high pay, Nottingham Trent said that the payments to Professor Gorman reflected a 2 per cent pay rise on his 2012-13 salary, as well as bonuses accrued over five years to ensure he remained in post.
The higher-than-normal benefits for Professor Gillies related to a £159,000 payment “in lieu of notice” after he stepped aside in July to allow his successor John Raftery to take office by the start of the new academic year.