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De Montfort University boss had business link to chair of committee which awarded him £64,000 pay rise

'This has highlighted again the need for proper transparency of key decisions at the top'

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Wednesday 13 February 2019 17:31 GMT
Dominic Shellard received the largest pay rise for vice-chancellors in England last year
Dominic Shellard received the largest pay rise for vice-chancellors in England last year (Demon.TV)

The former vice-chancellor of De Montfort University had a business link with the chair of the committee which awarded him the largest salary rise of any university leader, accounts show.

Dominic Shellard, who quit as vice-chancellor of the Leicester institution this week, held shares in a company where Anthony Stockdale, the chair of the remuneration committee, is a director.

Mr Stockdale, who stepped down from the governing board last night, led the committee which approved a 22.4 per cent pay rise for Mr Shellard last year - from £286,000 to £350,000.

It comes as official figures revealed that more than three-quarters of universities have defied a crackdown on six-figure salaries to give their bosses inflation-busting pay rises.

The Times reports that the business link between Mr Shellard and Mr Stockdale is part of an investigation by regulators.

Companies House accounts show Mr Shellard is a shareholder of Metamorph Group Limited, where Mr Stockdale is a director.

A register of interests on the De Montfort University site for 2018-19 discloses Mr Shellard became a shareholder of Metamorph in March 2017. But Mr Stockdale does not disclose an interest and his directorship is not listed.

It comes after vice-chancellors' pay has been in the spotlight - with growing concern over university leaders who take home hundreds of thousands of pounds having a say in remuneration committees.

Matt Waddup, head of policy at the University and College Union (UCU), told The Independent: “The situation at De Montfort has highlighted again the need for proper transparency of key decisions being taken at the top table of our universities and who is taking them.

“The time has come to have staff and student representatives on key decision-making bodies if we are to rebuild trust.”

The Office for Students, the higher education regulator, said on Monday it was investigating a number of “regulatory matters” at the university after an issue was raised by the institution in the autumn, but refused to comment on specific lines of enquiry when contacted by The Independent on Wednesday.

A spokeperson for De Montfort University (DMU) confirmed that Sir Ian Blatchford, Tony Payne, Tony Stockdale and Oliver Mishcon had all recently resigned as governors.

They said: "The process for appointing their successors will be in place in due course and announcements made accordingly.”

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The spokesperson added: "De Montfort University welcomed the statement issued by the Office for Students that it is ‘looking into a number of regulatory matters relating to De Montfort University, following the university reporting an issue to us in the autumn’.

“The statement also stated that ‘while this work is continuing there is no presumption of wrongdoing by the university’.

“The university can confirm that it is happy to cooperate fully with the Office for Students in this matter. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

Mr Stockdale has been approached for comment.

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