Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Highest paid job in Northern Ireland up for grabs as £218,000-a-year Queen's University chief quits

Sir Peter Gregson
Sir Peter Gregson

How do you fancy a salary of £218,000?

Do you think you're up to taking charge of one of Northern Ireland's most prestigious organisations?

Queen's University is looking for a new vice chancellor after its current leader Sir Peter Gregson resigned his post.

The university leader is to leave his £218,000-a-year position in Belfast for a pay hike of more than £50,000 when he becomes one of the UK's highest earners in his new role as Principal of Cranfield University in Bedfordshire.

His new wage of £275,000 a year is almost twice that of Prime Minister David Cameron's.

The 55-year-old on Monday announced he will begin working at the UK's only all-graduate university in August – leaving Queen's to launch a hunt for its next leader.

Sir Peter was appointed vice chancellor of Queen's in 2004 and steered the university up the league tables.

Announcing his decision to leave, he said: "Queen's is a powerhouse of learning and enterprise, an exceptional university with a distinguished heritage.

"I have derived enormous pleasure from working with so many talented, committed and exceptional colleagues across the university, including our students, staff and members of the governing body."

During his nine-year tenure, the university rose through the league tables to join the leading 20 universities in the UK, becoming part of the Russell Group.

Speculation on his successor could centre around Professor Tony Gallagher, one of university's pro (deputy) chancellors.

Queen's three pro chancellors and University of Ulster's five could all be potential names being thrown into the hat.

Sir Peter was the subject of controversy when it was revealed in 2009 that his £900-a-year subscription fee for The Athenaeum Club in London was claimed on expenses.

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry paid tribute to him, saying: "Sir Peter has served Queen's University with distinction and I wish him continued success as he embarks on the next stage of his illustrious academic career."

Sir Peter, who is married with three daughters, said: "I will always look back, with fond memories, to my time at Queen's."

Background

Salaries:

• Peter Gregson: £218,000+

• Catherine Mason, Translink chief executive: a salary package totalling £198,000

• Gavin Boyd: ESA chief executive designate: £155,000 to £160,000

• David Cameron, Prime Minister: £142,000

• Peter Robinson, First Minister: £114,535

• Northern Ireland MLAs: £43,101

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