Devon

Plymouth University boss Wendy Purcell gets £125,000 pay-off

Vice-chancellor Wendy Purcell Image copyright Plymouth University
Image caption Wendy Purcell got £125,000 aft she was moved from her post in 2014

A university paid its former vice-chancellor compensation of £125,000 when she switched roles during severe turmoil at top of the institution, it has emerged.

Prof Wendy Purcell took on the newly-created role of Plymouth University president when she gave up day-to-day control after a boardroom feud in 2014.

Her salary stayed the same, but she was awarded £125,000 for "loss of office," the latest university accounts reveal.

The University has refused to comment.

The battle between Ms Purcell and former chairman William Taylor left the institution without a vice-chancellor or chairman in 2014, leading to "fractured" relationships which put the governance of a university "in peril", according to a report published last year.

Mr Taylor, a retired judge, resigned from his post of chairman following claims of sexual harassment, which he denied.

It emerged in March 2015 he received a "substantial" pay off to end the long-running dispute between him and Ms Purcell.

She was suspended from her £288,000-a-year post but later brought back into the university in the new role.


Analysis from BBC South West's Business and Industry Correspondent, Neil Gallacher:

This looks like a payment for loss of face. It apparently compensates Wendy Purcell for the intangible fall-out from her change of jobs. That fall-out might include hurt feelings or damage to reputation; the shift from vice-chancellor to president publicly watered down her authority.

Reportedly, the former chairman of governors, the retired Judge William Taylor, also received a "substantial" pay-off from the university after he became embroiled in the dispute and resigned in order to "put the interests of the university first". Neither he nor the university has ever confirmed or denied that money changed hands.

Meanwhile, the post of University President has been quietly allowed to go into abeyance since Prof Purcell's contract came to an end at the turn of the year.


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