Top 100 charity chief executives earn average of £167,000

01 Sep 2015 News

Chief executives working for the UK’s top 100 charities had an average remuneration package of just over £167,000 in the last year, but pay remains low compared to other sectors, according to exclusive research by Charity Finance magazine.

The Chief Executives Survey 2015 is based on the Charity 100 Index, which is drawn from the list of registered charities, but attempts to exclude organisations not normally considered part of the voluntary sector.

It found that pay rose by slightly over the past two years, from £164,500 in 2013.

The median pay is now £145,000, unchanged over the past two years.

However average chief executive pay is inflated by four very high earners, mostly at medical charities. The average pay falls sharply to £152,000 when these individuals are excluded from the mix.

The highest paid individuals

The highest paid chief executive was David Mobbs of Nuffield Health (pictured), who earned between £780,000 and £790,000. The top ten earners are as follows:

  1. David Mobbs, Nuffield Health. Pay range: £780,000-£790,000
  2. Paul Holdom, London Clinic Trustees. Pay range: £390,000-£400,000
  3. Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome Trust. Pay: £394,000
  4. Simon Cooke, Marie Stopes. Pay range: £370,000-£380,000
  5. Michael Anderson, CIFF (UK). Pay range: £360,000-£370,000
  6. Gil Baldwin, St Andrew's Healthcare, Pay: £343,000
  7. Peter Vicary-Smith, Consumers' Association. Pay range: £330,000-£340,000
  8. Nigel Fine, Institution of Engineering. Pay range: £320,000-£330,000
  9. Alex Beard, Royal Opera House. Pay: £250,000
  10. Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK. Pay range: £230,000-£240,000


Pay cuts for many top executives

The survey found that several of UK charity’s highest earners have taken a significant pay cut over the past two years, including three of the five highest paid individuals.

David Mobbs, group chief executive of Nuffield Health saw an 8.2 per cent pay drop, from the £850,000 to £860,000 salary bracket reported in Charity Finance’s 2013 chief executive pay survey, to the £780,000 £790,000 bracket today.

But Mobbs' current salary is also an increase of £140,000 since last year - indicating a year-on-year fluctuation, possibly related to performance.

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, took a 3.2 per cent cut – from £407,000 in 2013 to £394,000 presently.

And Paul Holdom, chief executive of London Clinic Trustees took a pay cut of 4.8 per cent. His salary dropped from £410,000 to £420,000 in 2013 to £390,000 to £400,000 today.

A spokesman for Nuffield Health would not reveal details behind the fluctuation but said: “Remuneration for executives is determined by the remuneration committee based on year on year performance and also taking account of an annual independent review of executive remuneration of similar roles in the general commercial sector discounted to reflect the organisation's charitable status.”

The Wellcome Trust and London Clinic Trustees would not comment on the reasons for the pay cut.

Executive charity pay has faced criticism recently with BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme scrutinising chief executive pay last month and Express exclaiming “outrage as charity bosses pocket six-figure salaries from generous public donations” in February.

Pay low compared to other sectors

By comparison, FTSE 100 chief executives earn an average of £4.9m per year (with a median salary of £3.9m) – 28 times the average charity chief’s salary.

Some 47 hospital bosses working for the NHS pocketed more than £400,000 last year, according to research by the Mail Online – 2.4 times the average top-100 charity chief executive.

The top earners in the charity sector all work for health-related charities, including Nuffield Health, St Andrew’s Healthcare, London Clinic Trustees and the Wellcome Trust.

Subscribers to Charity Finance can read the Chief Executives Survey 2015 here. Other readers can subscribe to Charity Finance here.

Additional reporting by David Ainsworth.

Clarification: an earlier version of this story stated that Gil Baldwin, chief executive of St Andrew's Healthcare, earned between £750,000 and £760,000. But this figure related to the charity's previous chief executive, Philip Sugarman. 

St Andrew's Healthcare had declined to provide details of its chief executive's salary despite being advised that in the absence of a confirmed figure, Charity Finance takes the highest pay figure from the charity's latest published accounts. In St Andrew's case, the pay figure we extracted and published relates to Gil Baldwin's predecessor as chief executive, Phillip Sugarman.

Sugarman's total package included pay in lieu of notice and compensation for loss of office. His previous year's pay was £653,000 and in the four years before that the average total package paid to the charity's CEO was around £580,000, even though the basic salary paid was usually around half that.

St Andrew's have since confirmed that Gil Baldwin's basic salary is £226,000. His bonus was £32,000, pension contribution was £65,000 and other benefits were £20,000, making his total remuneration £343,000. 

As a result of being supplied with the correct information from St Andrew's Healthcare we have updated the average salary from £170,000 to £167,000.

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