Charity defends “obscene” salary of CEO


Bonus payments come under scrutiny 

16th August 2019 by Robert Armour 12 Comments

A charity chief is in the firing line after it was revealed his salary topped £430,000.

Simon Cooke, the chief executive of Marie Stopes International, one of the country’s largest providers of abortion clinics, saw his pay increase from £173,000 to £217,250 within a year, topped up by a performance-related bonus of the same amount.

The eye-watering sum was branded “obscene” by Mark Flannagan, the former chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, who said bonuses paid to charity chiefs must be stopped.

Writing in Third Sector, Flannagan said: “No matter how important your organisation’s mission, I cannot see how anyone can justify almost doubling what is already an extremely large salary for a charity boss.”

The sum puts Cooke in the top five highest paid charity bosses in the UK although previous years saw Cooke receiving bigger bonuses of £233,303 in 2016 and £251,831 in 2015. However his salary was lower.  

Top salaries at the bigger organisations have come under intense scrutiny over the past few years following well-publicised charity scandals.

Marie Stopes responded by saying it employs over 11,000 people, and manages more than £290 million annually.

“The CEO’s remuneration package is set by the board of trustees, as part of their duty to ensure our organisation has the best leadership in place to deliver against ambitious targets,” said a spokesperson.

Chief executive salaries for charity bosses however are considerably lower than other sectors while research earlier this year showed Scottish charity bosses earn around 9% less than their UK counterparts.

16th August 2019 by armrget kaur

I am sorry bit this is wrong at so many levels and no amount of defense about the decision will shift my view and you know that deep down inside - pay your staff on front line properly not the fat cat at the top of the tree- how can you sleep at night?

17th August 2019 by alan

This is why I give nothing to them. Only a fool would give knowing about the excessive pay.

17th August 2019 by Lara

If you're working in the third sector for the money then you shouldn't be there. Don't get me wrong I believe in paying a fair day's wage for a fair day's work but as a volunteer in the third sector I hear diminishing funds used as an excuse to cut back on hours of those at the coal face and perks for volunteers to much. If CEOs were really serious about keeping the charity a float they'd forgo their bonuses and payrises rather than slitting the throats of those who work so hard for low and no pay. The corporatisation of the third sector was a huge mistake and it's so sad to see.

18th August 2019 by Clare D

I will never donate to this organisation again. I will discourage those I know to do the same. This cannot be value for money, it's like public donated money.

18th August 2019 by William Cubillo

Absolutely disgraceful. I only give to charities that don't have fat cats sucking much needed money away from the cause. We have "career" charity bosses with huge salaries and frontline workers on minimal wage. Scandalous

18th August 2019 by Paul Hainesborough

Charities are big business if want to make money have to employ big executives. Competitive market there's others get far more for there companies losing money. Look at some NHS executives etc

18th August 2019 by Daleboy

This is exactly why I refuse to give to charities. I agree with the work they do, but until the clowns at the top are paid justifiable amounts.....they can all bugger off.

18th August 2019 by Annie Silver

How can they justify a salary that is more than the Prime Minister's? How much of their income comes from the public purse? How much from members of the public? Time for caps to be put in place by the regulator...

19th August 2019 by RD

This is an international organisation that carries out medical procedures, with over 10,000 employees and a turnover of £300 million. Leadership of the highest quality is paramount to such an organisation and they should be duly recompensed for what they are expected to achieve for the charity (or corporate organisation for that matter). You get what you pay for.Statutory services are leaning on charities to fill the gaps in supporting our communities. Charities should strive to provide highest quality services and in order to do this we need knowledgeable, experienced and motivated leaders.We shouldn’t be worrying ourselves with what CEO’s get paid, but rather the quality of the charity’s services and impact it has on our community. Because that is the difference it will make to you and I!

20th August 2019 by Margaret

Like any company, charities need to recruit and retain the best staff to be able to provide their valuable services. People pay little heed to the importance of the "behind the scenes" staff at charities preferring any donations to go to the "frontline". However, without the staff behind the scenes there would be no frontline staff, no service, no charity. Staff should be paid what they are worth and if the board at Marie Stopes can evidence that their CEO is worth that salary than he should get it. I just hope that the whole organisation is recognised in the same way.

20th August 2019 by Jake

The rich get richer, the poor and needed can kiss my a__ is the outlook on life for some. This charity stuff is just a big con.

17th July 2020 by Carol bewick

The money should go to the cause.not providing an obscene wage for the so called man at the top.they in it for the money alone or they would take a fair wage.I dont trust any charities .I heard a few pence of the pound goes to the kid with cleft lip. Malnutrition.and so forth.And yes we should be worried how donations are used as poor people donate too good causes to help others ,not to provide an obscene wage for the crafty treats.