THE UNIVERSITY of Southampton has appointed a new vice-chancellor who will be on a considerably lower salary than his predecessor.

Professor Mark E. Smith will receive an annual salary of £287,000 compared to the £423,000 paid to the previous VC, Sir Christopher Snowden, who retired last month.

Sir Christopher’s pay was the subject of controversy as his reign included a round of redundancies.

Physicist Professor Smith, the current vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, is due, subject to final arrangements, to take up his appointment at the beginning of the new academic year on October 1.

He said: “I am very excited to be joining a university that is so committed in its vision and strategy to achieving dual excellence in its educational offering and research.

“As one of the most research-intensive universities in the UK and recognised in the world top 100, it is an exemplar of an institution that can make a real difference to the world.”

Philip Greenish, chair of council at the university said: “Professor Smith will join our university with a track record of success in his leadership of Lancaster and a deep understanding of the complex environment of higher education.

“More important than that, however, is his approach to leadership which is consensual, inclusive and sensitive to the needs and expectations of the student and staff community. While he is a visionary leader, he has been very clear in his view that Southampton’s strategy and 10-year plan are right for us and that he will work with the whole university community to deliver them.”

Professor Smith studied natural sciences at Churchill College, Cambridge before completing a PhD at the University of Warwick. After time in industry in Germany and with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia, he became a lecturer at the University of Kent in 1992.

In 1998 he returned to Warwick, where he held roles in the Physics Department before being appointed chair of the faculty of science in 2005, pro-vice-chancellor for research in 2007, and subsequently deputy vice-chancellor.

He became vice chancellor at Lancaster in 2012.