Queen’s University’s new vice chancellor has revealed he receives a salary of £300,000.
Professor Ian Greer said he was “happy” to disclose his pay, however, he would not be drawn on if students should pay more for third level education in Northern Ireland.
It was also reported he is paid £35,000 more than his predecessor, a figure the university did not dispute.
Professor Greer was appointed in January. From Scotland he was previously vice chancellor at University of Manchester.
He is the 13th person to take the reins of the 172-year-old institution and replaces Professor Patrick Johnson who passed away suddenly in June last year at the age of 58.
In his first interview since taking up the post Professor Greer said he was “happy” to disclose his salary.
He receives a £295,000 basic pay, with £6,000 employer costs or pension contributions.
“Benchmarked against the rest of the Russell Group that’s actually at the lower end of the range,” he told the BBC.
“To put it into context Queen’s is a global institution. It’s a university competing on a global scale and as vice chancellor of Queen’s the job is diverse, it’s complex and goes well beyond the reaches of the university.”
The Russell Group is a 24-member organisation of research-intensive universities. Other members of the group include Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics.
Asked if Professor Greer received any other benefits on top of his salary, the university did not respond.
Professor Patrick Johnson, in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, described as a “myth” that he had a car provided for him and said he paid rent for his Queen’s residence.
Professor Greer would not be drawn on the subject of tuition fees and if Northern Ireland students should pay more than the current £4,000 rate.
“What should happen is we need to have a sustainable funding model for higher education and that requires a well-informed debate at the Executive level,” he added, “So it’s important we have Executive up and running as soon as possible to address policy issues like that.”
He continued: “Overall I am excited by the opportunity, that’s an opportunity to make a real difference to Northern Ireland, a real difference to the economy, a real difference to the people.
“I want to transform people’s lives here in Northern Ireland and see the economy flourish.”
The university said the salary was in line with the complexity and demands of the role.
Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University’s Renumeration Committee, Dr Stephen Kingon added: “The Vice-Chancellor’s salary is determined, in line with the guidance issued by the Committee of University Chairs, by the University’s Remuneration Committee, a sub-committee of its governing body, Senate.”
Stephen Prenter, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Senate added: "Queen’s University is delighted to welcome Professor Ian Greer as the new President and Vice-Chancellor.
"Professor Greer has an international reputation of academic excellence and has held major strategic and leadership roles in higher education for some 25 years, most recently at The University of Manchester and The University of Liverpool.
"He has been at the forefront of transformational change to the NHS in the North of England and was a key player in the Manchester City Deal.
"As Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greer will bring his experience and expertise to his leadership role within the University, within Northern Ireland and on the national and international stage, making a leading contribution to cultural, social and economic development in Northern Ireland.”