Principal awarded £30k bonus

St Andrews University Principal Professor Louise Richardson
St Andrews University Principal Professor Louise Richardson

St Andrews University principal Louise Richardson received a bonus worth 13 per cent of her £225,000 salary last year.

However, it was revealed this week that she has personally contributed £120,000 to the university’s 600th anniversary fundraising campaign to support scholarships and new facilities for postgraduate students.

The university was quick to defend Professor Louise Richardson who, a spokesman said, had neither received nor sought a salary increase since she took up post six years ago.

However, last year, even as her salary stayed at £225,000, she received a one-off bonus of £30,000 and the value of other benefits doubled from £5000 to £10,000, equivalent to a 13 per cent rise.

“Professor Richardson has not sought nor accepted a salary increase since her appointment as principal six years ago,” the spokesman said.

“During this time, St Andrews has experienced one of the most successful periods in its history. It has achieved its highest ever rankings in United Kingdom league tables, is the only Scottish university in the UK top 10, has two years running been named Scottish University of the Year, consistently topped the annual UK National Student Survey, significantly expanded its numbers of students from deprived backgrounds, expanded the volume of scholarships and bursaries it offers, driven up the quality of its research and run an ambitious global fundraising campaign which has realised over £50 million for teaching and research in St Andrews.”

The university’s statement continued: “In 2014, University Court awarded the principal a one-off bonus payment of £30k in recognition of this progress.

“Since her appointment, Professor Richardson has personally given over £120k to St Andrews 600th Anniversary Fundraising Campaign to support scholarships and new facilities for postgraduate students.

“Her basic salary remains unchanged.”

The highest university principal’s salary goes to Professor Sir Jim McDonald, the head of Glasgow’s Strathclyde University, who takes home £334,000 a year.

The UCU union, which represents university academics and support staff, was critical of the pay rises.

Mary Senior, Scotland official for UCU said it was time to legislate to ensure future pay rises were in step with wider pay increases.

She said: “At a time when our members’ pay is being forced down as universities plead poverty, it is really quite incredible to see that, once again, some university heads believe it is acceptable to enjoy these inflation-busting pay rises.

“These figures also demonstrate the completely arbitrary nature of pay rises for university principals,” Ms Senior continued.

“The time has come for full scrutiny of senior pay in our universities.

However, Universities Scotland, the universities umbrella organisation, defended the increases and argued many university leaders had refused to accept pay rises and claimed there had been just a 1.4 per cent pay increase for principals.