Vice Chancellor's luxury lifestyle comes to an end - De Montford Watch

Fullofsurprises
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£350K salary.
Luxury house and two cars paid for.
£37K in one year on business flights.
Top restaurant meals in New York, New Orleans, Seville, Stockholm and Shanghai.
£3k for membership of the Ivy in London.

You might think this would be the package of a successful City director or the founder of a leading global games/app company.

In fact it is what Leicester De Montford University, currently ranked #71st in the Guardian league tables, was providing for its Vice Chancellor, Marcus Shellard, until he was sacked recently after a forensic audit.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ankruptcy.html

The story highlights the insane levels of overpay now given to top university executives - and the grotesque lack of accountability they have.

The senior managements of many universities are mostly notable for their incompetence, yet they remain amongst the highest paid executives in the country.
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Themysticalegg
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
£350K salary.
Luxury house and two cars paid for.
£37K in one year on business flights.
Top restaurant meals in New York, New Orleans, Seville, Stockholm and Shanghai.
£3k for membership of the Ivy in London.

You might think this would be the package of a successful City director or the founder of a leading global games/app company.

In fact it is what Leicester De Montford University, currently ranked #71st in the Guardian league tables, was providing for its Vice Chancellor, Marcus Shellard, until he was sacked recently after a forensic audit.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ankruptcy.html

The story highlights the insane levels of overpay now given to top university executives - and the grotesque lack of accountability they have.

The senior managements of many universities are mostly notable for their incompetence, yet they remain amongst the highest paid executives in the country.
Reminds me of this article from a few years ago.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...versities.html
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Notoriety
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Never heard of this De Montford place.

You must be one of their disgruntled students.
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Never heard of this De Montford place.

You must be one of their disgruntled students.
I'm a disgruntled member of a university staff. We have our own versions of the bloated De Montford fat cat. Enabled by the Board.
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Andrew97
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Firms can pay their staff what they wish.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
I'm a disgruntled member of a university staff. We have our own versions of the bloated De Montford fat cat. Enabled by the Board.
You won't be saying that when you're further along in your career and looking to earn the big bucks.
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by Andrew97)
Firms can pay their staff what they wish.
Universities are not firms. Many of them are charities or of similar status.
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
£350K salary.
Luxury house and two cars paid for.
£37K in one year on business flights.
Top restaurant meals in New York, New Orleans, Seville, Stockholm and Shanghai.
£3k for membership of the Ivy in London.

You might think this would be the package of a successful City director or the founder of a leading global games/app company.

In fact it is what Leicester De Montford University, currently ranked #71st in the Guardian league tables, was providing for its Vice Chancellor, Marcus Shellard, until he was sacked recently after a forensic audit.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ankruptcy.html

The story highlights the insane levels of overpay now given to top university executives - and the grotesque lack of accountability they have.

The senior managements of many universities are mostly notable for their incompetence, yet they remain amongst the highest paid executives in the country.
I am tempted to state that this is borderline criminality, but I acknowledge that it is pervasive in the higher education sector. Many universities are aggressively expanding to attract more students and earn more money. Even “useless” universities are selling dreams to gullible youngsters by twisting league tables to suit their profile.

I once saw a passing ad on a bus that showed University X is top rated for happy students and I was like “what???”. Some kid would see that and go pay £9,000 a year based on something that is meaningless.

It is very sad to see how crazy the system has become. We often attack bankers and lawyers for wrecking the system with their clever tactics, but we fail to see the other people who subtly ruin the system for a lot of people. It is messed up.
Last edited by Wired_1800; 1 month ago
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
I am tempted to state that this is borderline criminality, but I acknowledge that it is pervasive in the higher education sector. Many universities are aggressively expanding to attract more students and earn more money. Even “useless” universities are selling dreams to gullible youngsters by twisting league tables to suit their profile.

I once saw a passing ad on a bus that showed University X is top rated for happy students and I was like “what???”. Some kid would see that and go pay £9,000 a year based on something that is meaningless.

It is very sad to see how crazy the system has become. We often attack bankers and lawyers for wrecking the system with their clever tactics, but we fail to see the other people who subtly ruin the system for a lot of people. It is messed up.
It is messed up and it will most probably end in a crash like the banks, with the taxpayer left to foot the bill for the lavish overspending and students ending up being kicked out onto the streets from failed institutions.

The banks are deeply involved in this one as well of course, as they are lending huge amounts to the universities for their dubious spending splurges and lavish top exec salary/packages, secure in the knowledge that they will be bailed by the taxpayer when it goes belly up - exactly the logic that applied to the vast overlending to Irish house building, Spanish airports and Greek military aircraft.
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
It is messed up and it will most probably end in a crash like the banks, with the taxpayer left to foot the bill for the lavish overspending and students ending up being kicked out onto the streets from failed institutions.

The banks are deeply involved in this one as well of course, as they are lending huge amounts to the universities for their dubious spending splurges and lavish top exec salary/packages, secure in the knowledge that they will be bailed by the taxpayer when it goes belly up - exactly the logic that applied to the vast overlending to Irish house building, Spanish airports and Greek military aircraft.
I used to think that common sense will prevail in situations, but I now understand that history repeats itself and there is nothing we can do about it. We see things like this happen and we are often powerless to solve the situation.

One of the key things that we can do is to probably not attend some of these quack unis, where we know that they are ruining the system. I also think other universities should begin to call out this nonsense, else they will lose their credibility as well.
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L i b
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Ultimately, it should be the governing body of the university that is held to account for this. The VC is just applying for a job as offered and given the pay he has negotiated - it's up to them to oversee the propriety of that.

The problem, of course, is that (i) these dodgy institutions receive taxpayer funding and (ii) they are also used by people to obtain visas to the UK, often seemingly more to get into the country than actually to gain a degree from these institutions.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Andrew97)
Firms can pay their staff what they wish.
They're not firms, that's the point. Most even have charitable status.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by Reality Check)
They're not 'firms' - that's the point. Many even have charitable status.
I didn't suggest there were firms. Many top managers in charities or NHS or public life earn very good numbers; many headteachers of publicly funded schools are in the 6 figures. Considering the much more revered status as a V-C versus secondary school head, I somewhat agree with the high pay. These are often organisations dealing in tens of millions of pounds in revenue each year.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Notoriety)
I didn't suggest there were firms. Many top managers in charities or NHS or public life earn very good numbers; many headteachers of publicly funded schools are in the 6 figures. Considering the much more revered status as a V-C versus secondary school head, I somewhat agree with the high pay. These are often organisations dealing in tens of millions of pounds in revenue each year.
I was just deleting my post - I quoted the wrong user in quoting you.
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TimmonaPortella
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High pay isn't inherently an issue. It's an important role and if you want to attract good people you have to pay them well. Whether the money spent on sending him around the world to these events is worth it is a matter for the university, but, given the number and location of the events, the spending figures don't seem outrageous to me.

I don't see anything to suggest that his two cars were paid for. The (highly critical) article limits itself to saying:

'And what perks! De Montfort provided him with a rent-free, two-floor flat in a Georgian house on campus. A car and driver were also made available on occasion.'
Obviously it's common for such offices in universities to come with accommodation (e.g. every Master of an Oxbridge college?).

Can you substantiate

(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Top restaurant meals in New York, New Orleans, Seville, Stockholm and Shanghai..
?

Because, again, the highly critical authors simply go with:

'lunches and dinners as far afield as New York, New Orleans, Seville, Stockholm and Shanghai'
If the audit revealed shenanigans on his part then he should be held to account. But the embellished account presented in OP of this particular VC's remuneration package doesn't in itself say all that much about anything in particular.

As to the 'charity' point: um, well yes. Nothing about that suggests that it shouldn't allocate substantial resources to management, and indeed international events, if that is what is thought best for the governance and the objects of the charity. There are high earners across the charities sector, and there's nothing basically wrong with that.
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Joinedup
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(Original post by TimmonaPortella)
High pay isn't inherently an issue. It's an important role and if you want to attract good people you have to pay them well. Whether the money spent on sending him around the world to these events is worth it is a matter for the university, but, given the number and location of the events, the spending figures don't seem outrageous to me.

I don't see anything to suggest that his two cars were paid for. The (highly critical) article limits itself to saying:



Obviously it's common for such offices in universities to come with accommodation (e.g. every Master of an Oxbridge college?).

Can you substantiate



?

Because, again, the highly critical authors simply go with:



If the audit revealed shenanigans on his part then he should be held to account. But the embellished account presented in OP of this particular VC's remuneration package doesn't in itself say all that much about anything in particular.

As to the 'charity' point: um, well yes. Nothing about that suggests that it shouldn't allocate substantial resources to management, and indeed international events, if that is what is thought best for the governance and the objects of the charity. There are high earners across the charities sector, and there's nothing basically wrong with that.
The Mail has repeatedly attempted to contact Shellard's sister, Sonya, with no response. University accounts show that in 2017-18 a Cheshire-based training company called Vector received £67,800 in fees from De Montfort. Ms Shellard is a director of and majority shareholder in Vector.
That sounds pretty iffy though and is probably one of the real reasons they were able to give him the boot...

Socially engineering yourself a series of mystifyingly generous pay rises and anachronistic benefits in kind probably isn't a crime - but that doesn't mean it's right either.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by TimmonaPortella)
High pay isn't inherently an issue. It's an important role and if you want to attract good people you have to pay them well. Whether the money spent on sending him around the world to these events is worth it is a matter for the university, but, given the number and location of the events, the spending figures don't seem outrageous to me.

I don't see anything to suggest that his two cars were paid for. The (highly critical) article limits itself to saying:



Obviously it's common for such offices in universities to come with accommodation (e.g. every Master of an Oxbridge college?).

Can you substantiate



?

Because, again, the highly critical authors simply go with:



If the audit revealed shenanigans on his part then he should be held to account. But the embellished account presented in OP of this particular VC's remuneration package doesn't in itself say all that much about anything in particular.

As to the 'charity' point: um, well yes. Nothing about that suggests that it shouldn't allocate substantial resources to management, and indeed international events, if that is what is thought best for the governance and the objects of the charity. There are high earners across the charities sector, and there's nothing basically wrong with that.
I struggle to believe that the substantial perqs afforded to this (and many) VCs could ever be considered 'in the institution's best interests'.
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TimmonaPortella
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(Original post by Joinedup)
That sounds pretty iffy though and is probably one of the real reasons they were able to give him the boot...
It sounds like it might be pretty iffy. It's hard to tell without more info. Assuming he was involved in the decision to use that firm, maybe he disclosed his sister's interest to the board and sought their approval :dontknow:

I'm not defending the guy personally. I'm just saying that the levels of pay and expenditure aren't on their own anything to get upset about.

Socially engineering yourself a series of mystifyingly generous pay rises and anachronistic benefits in kind probably isn't a crime - but that doesn't mean it's right either.
Which anachronistic benefits in kind? The property? I doubt he'll have engineered that for himself. It probably just came with the post anyway, and it's probably thought to be necessary to match the perks at other universities.

Re the pay rises, I myself doubt that they were needed, considering he was already secured in post. Maybe they thought he was deeply valuable to the organisation and he threatened to leave? Again, bring me something that shows that the decision-making process was flawed or corrupt and I'll jump on board with you and condemn it.

(Original post by Reality Check)
I struggle to believe that the substantial perqs afforded to this (and many) VCs could ever be considered 'in the institution's best interests'.
Maybe, but which ones?

I've covered the property.

As regards travel, well, to what extent did those foreign VC engagements advance the university's standing/ international community/ any other objectives? I don't know. In individual cases I might myself think they were a waste of money, but if the decisions were made properly by appropriate people I can't really object.

Maybe they weren't: maybe he invented nonsense commitments to get himself some more fancy holidays. If that's the case then I agree it wasn't in the institution's best interests, but I can't conclude that from what's in the article in OP. Seems to me it's pretty normal for such people to be involved in some foreign engagements.

What else... the 'occasional driver'? For what -- to get him to university events? That doesn't seem out of kilter with the seniority of the office, does it?
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Audrey18
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Fullofsurprises

De Monfort is a great uni for china and pakistan students to gain entry with ease for their degree and masters programmes. Best part? Most of them can't even speak, read or write english. China students need a British degree or masters so that they can go to Canada, Australia or America to work and then settle down. Pakistan students just want to stay in UK so they can send money back home to Lahore to buy more land and build more houses for their relatives and friends.
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Joinedup
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(Original post by Reality Check)
I struggle to believe that the substantial perqs afforded to this (and many) VCs could ever be considered 'in the institution's best interests'.
A lot of jobs used to come with a gratis house.
Reservoir keeper, school caretaker, sewage works superintendent, railway station master etc.

maybe we sorta accept/expect some comical anachronisms at oxbridge - probably not so much for institutions forged in the Wilsonian white heat of the swinging 60s - or more recently.
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