Cowans puts onus on board to justify pay
The country's best paid chief executive, who picked up nearly a third of a million pounds this year, has distanced himself from the decision on what to pay him.
Speaking exclusively to Inside Housing after the revelation that he was paid £314,000 in 2004/05, David Cowans, chief executive of Places for People, England's largest housing association group, said it was up to the organisation's board to justify his salary.
The figure included an extra £79,000 on top of his salary, largely due to a pension underpayment dating back seven years (Inside Housing, 19 August).
'The remuneration of the chief executive is formally a board issue,' said Mr Cowans. 'They need to justify what they pay me.
'It is their decision. They took advice. To be honest, I stay away from these issues.'
Mr Cowans ended up with a bumper pay-day because the error coincided with the abolition of the organisation's bonus scheme and its replacement with a flat salary. In 2004/05 he was paid under the new scheme - but also received his outstanding bonus of £38,250 from 2003/04.
Mr Cowans also revealed that the group was looking to create a range of home ownership option.
As part of its plans, it is looking at the possibility of setting up a new 'financial services organisation', similar to a bank, which would provide financial products including mortgages, equity loans and equity stakes to extend tenure diversity.