Leather to be chief operating officer for Glasgow 2014

David Leather: High up pay table. Picture: Contributed
David Leather: High up pay table. Picture: Contributed
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ONE OF the UK’s highest paid public sector bosses has been recruited to become chief operating officer of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

But the organisation behind the major sporting event said it will get the benefit of David Leather’s services as part of a sponsorship package – the terms of which were undisclosed – with “big four” financial services firm, Ernst & Young.

Leather, who has been praised for his work as finance director and deputy chief executive of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, was recruited to replace Ralph Ord, who had been the chief operating officer of Glasgow 2014 for only six months.

Before his appointment last week, Leather was reported to have received £540,000 a year as head of the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE), a role he took after the company running the Manchester sporting event was wound down.

His job at the massive transport quango was on the basis of a “secondment”, where he ran the group but was paid by his employers, E&Y. Leather is also on secondment to Glasgow 2014.

A spokesman for Glasgow 2014 said that Leather’s pay package and the terms of the sponsorship were “subject to normal commercial confidentialities”, adding that the chief operating officer “is not receiving any additional salary or compensation directly from Glasgow 2014”.

The accountancy firm, which has offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, signed a deal to become one of the first sponsors of the Glasgow Games after agreeing to become its official professional adviser in September 2011. The sponsorship deal includes services such as tax advice and internal audit as well as “support through secondments”.

E&Y declined to say how much they would be paid for their services to Glasgow 2014. Previously the accountancy firm has described the deal as a “tier two” sponsorship but a spokeswoman for the accountancy firm admitted: “I actually have no idea what ‘tier two’ means.”

Leather’s total pay at GMPTE – which has since been rebranded Transport for Greater Manchester – was widely reported after rules were introduced forcing local authorities to disclose the pay of public servants who earned more than the Prime Minister.

But GMPTE, which runs the Manchester trams, said that the quango only paid E&Y £200,000 a year for Leather’s services as chief executive, adding that any further pay he received from the accountancy group was “none of our business”.

In the third quarter of 2012 alone, GMPTE made more than £400,000 of payments to E&Y, according to information published on its website.

Leather’s tenure as deputy chief executive of the Manchester Games was dubbed a “remarkable achievement” after the £170 million event came in £14m under budget and left a “powerful economic legacy” for the city.