Aberdeen University has not contacted Sir Ian Diamond since last summer to ask him to hand back £119,000 from his controversial “golden goodbye”.
Emails released under freedom of information laws show that the ancient institution formally requested a repayment from its former principal on July 1 last year.
University bosses then approached Sir Ian again on July 28 to ask if he had reached a decision, but he did not respond.
No further repayment requests have been made by the university to Sir Ian, who is now Britain’s “national statistician” as head of the UK Statistics Authority.
Aberdeen University said it had “little alternative but to consider the matter closed”.
Professor Sir Ian Diamond, former principal and vice-chancellor at Aberdeen University, was ordered to hand £119,000 of its grant back to the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) in July last year after an investigation into the pay-off received by Sir Ian.
Bosses at the institution subsequently asked Sir Ian to repay the money himself.
‘The cost of two principals’
Investigations by the SFC and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) found the university needlessly “incurred the cost of two principals” over a financial year as a result of its arrangement with Sir Ian.
The former principal only triggered his year-long notice period at the moment he was succeeded by George Boyne in the summer of 2018, despite announcing his retirement plans a year earlier.
University accounts for 2017-18 showed that Sir Ian was getting £601,000 – including a salary of £282,000, pension contributions to the value of £30,000, and contractual notice period payment and related expenses of £289,000.
A further £60,000 payment to Sir Ian should also have been disclosed in the accounts, the inquiries found.
The SFC asked for £119,000 to be returned after adding together the £289,000 notice payment and £60,000 extra payment, then taking 34% of the sum, which was the proportion of the university’s income that comes from the SFC.
The emails show that, on July 1 last year, former university secretary Steven Cannon wrote to Sir Ian to say: “The SFC judged that your severance broke the rules and asked for £119,000 to be repaid.
“For the same reason the university formally requests you to repay to it the sum of £119,000.”
On July 28 an unnamed official wrote again, saying: “We would be grateful if you could now let us know your decision with regard to making a repayment to the university.”
‘Little alternative but to consider the matter closed’
A university spokesman confirmed that no further requests were made to Sir Ian.
He added: “Our request remains with Professor Sir Ian Diamond for consideration, however we have received no response to date.
“In the circumstances the university regretfully has little alternative but to consider the matter closed.”
It’s right that the university pursued him for repayment.”
A spokesman for the UCU Scotland union said: “The payment Professor Sir Ian Diamond received on leaving the university was unacceptable, a fact recognised by the Scottish Funding Council.
“It’s right that the university pursued him for repayment. Given the financial pressure on universities, the level of golden goodbye he received is all the more shocking.
“The recommendations of the SFC, and the financial penalty the university had to pay, must ensure this level of greed never happens again.”