University of Southampton admits vice-chancellor DID sit on committee awarding him £433,000 pay deal

The university has spent £1.5m on vice-chancellor pay in past three years

Sir Christopher Snowden is paid 30% more than predecessor Don Nutbeam and yet the University argues the need to save money by cutting 75 academic jobs, while also advertising for an executive chauffeur.

When the vice-chancellor's pay rise was publicised there was widespread speculation that Sir Christopher Snowden was involved in this decison, however, the university repudiated this:

“The vice-chancellor’s salary was set and is regularly reviewed and agreed by the university’s independently chaired remuneration committee, which reports to the university council. The vice-chancellor is not a member of the remuneration committee and only attends by invitation to discuss other business.”

However, that was impossible as the remuneration committee was only recently established. The vice-chancellor’s pay was actually set by the senior salaries committee, which the vice-chancellor was a member of until 17 November 2017. See page 19 of the University’s 2016/17 accounts –

The University and College Union (UCU) said the revelation highlighted the need for proper transparency of key decisions in universities. In the last three years the University of Southampton has spent £1.5million on paying its vice-chancellor:

2014/15 – £232,000 to Don Nutbeam

2015/16 – £687,000 to Nutbeam and Sir Christopher Snowden

2016/17 – £433,000 to Snowden

University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Senior pay and how it is set has long blighted the university sector. We found that over two-thirds of vice-chancellors sat on the committee that sets their pay. While most people would agree this is wrong and looks suspect, it is currently the norm, which makes Southampton’s efforts to try and obscure the fact that their vice-chancellor was on the committee that sets his £434,000 package really strange…

“For the university to say the vice-chancellor’s pay was set by a committee that didn’t even exist when his pay was actually set will fill no one with confidence about its governance structures."

Since 2015, when Sir Christopher Snowden became vice-chancellor of Southampton University, the university's ranking position has dropped significantly, while his pay has continued to increase. This begs us to question whether his pay rise is necersarily 'well-earnt'?

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It is also worth noting that he earns more than the Prime Minister and the Head of the NHS England COMBINED…

University of Southampton