University of Dundee principal steps down following claims of failure to pay rent

The 300,000-a-year principal of Dundee University was last month suspended for alleged non-payment of rent.
The 300,000-a-year principal of Dundee University was last month suspended for alleged non-payment of rent.
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The £300,000-a-year principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Dundee has stepped down after his suspension following allegations he failed to pay his rent.

Professor Andrew Atherton took up the £300,000 role at the start of this year, but was suspended in September for allegedly failing to pay rent on accommodation provided to him by the university.

It was reported the 53-year-old professor had been staying at University House on Perth Road, but had refused to pay the full amount of rent due on the property.

He picked up a £40,000 “disruption allowance” to help him move to Dundee from Lancaster University to take up the job of principal and vice-chancellor on 1 January.

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A University of Dundee spokesperson said: "In the short time that Professor Atherton has been with the University he has shown a commitment to excellence.

"His broad experience has brought fresh ideas, a focus on sustainability and a drive to further enhance the University’s national and global standing.

"However, it has become apparent that the University’s vision for its future and the values it holds are different to the aspirations of Professor Atherton.

"He has therefore decided to step down so that the University can continue to pursue its current strategy.

"The University Executive Group is managing the University’s affairs and will continue to do so."

The university highlighted that all payments made to professor Atherton have been in compliance with the Scottish Funding Council’s financial memorandum.

Professor Atherton was named as the successor to Professor Sir Pete Downes in July last year.

He was formerly Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Enterprise at Lancaster University

He was appointed with a remuneration package worth £298,000 – a base salary of £250,000 plus £48,000 in pension contributions.