$1m salary too generous, says Australian National University chief Brian Schmidt

$1m salary too generous, says Australian National University chief Brian Schmidt, by Sian Powell.

Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt has refused to accept the near-$1 million salary paid to his predecessor.

The winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics, Professor Schmidt was appointed as ANU vice-chancellor in 2016.

His salary was recorded as between $610,000 and $624,999 in the university’s subsequent annual report, compared with his predecessor’s salary of between $970,000 and $984,999. At least 10 Australian vice-chancellors now earn more than $1m a year.

It is understood Professor Schmidt, who declined to comment, would have preferred an even smaller salary than he eventually received, but it was felt this would undermine the prestige of his position as chief of one of Australia’s most important universities, as well as apply downward pressure on salaries at other levels within the university.

The American-born scientist was concerned to keep his salary down in view of the financially troubled state of universities and university staff across Australia. He also refused to publicise his philanthropy.

Impressive. Well done Brian Schmidt.

hat-tip Stephen Neil