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Wales’ public sector rich list 2023: The best paid officials in the nation



We’ve trawled the accounts published by Wales’ public bodies to come up with a list of the highest paid public sector officials in the nation.

Wales has 441,000 public sector workers, according to the the latest figures, with an average wage of around £32,000, however those at the top of the tree earn nearly ten times as much as the average worker. Our list is dominated by the heads of health boards and universities nearly all of who have salaries of more than £200,000 a year.

We have not included the head of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water Peter Perry as his organisation is a not-for-profit ‘company limited by guarantee’ rather than being a formally-owned public body. Had he been included his £332,000 basic salary in 2022 plus £105,000 pension contribution and annual and long-term bonus payments totalling a further £232,000 would have given him a total package of £675,000 and seen him top our list.

For our list, we looked at public bodies including health boards, councils, universities, the Welsh Government, BBC Wales and quangos to compile a list of the best-paid bureaucrats in the nation. If we’ve missed anyone out, please let us know in the comments.

Salaries are just one part of the total bill for the executives at the top of the tree. With some officials still benefiting from a final salary pension scheme, a promotion can mean a huge jump in the value of their pension pot – the cost of which will be met by the taxpayer.

It may come as a surprise that the man responsible for leading Wales isn’t the highest earner – Wales First Minister takes home a basic salary of just £147,000 and a total remuneration package of £205,000.

The person whose total remuneration this year was the largest in Wales was not the highest salaried executive but a director at a Welsh health board. Thanks to the final salary pension schemes that many in the public sector still benefit from, the long-serving employee’s recent appointment as executive director of people and culture meant that her entire pension had to be revalued for accounting purposes as being worth £369,000 more than it had been before her promotion. It took her annual package to £505,000. Her basic salary of £135k otherwise would not have made this list. That money isn’t paid out now but it’s a real cost to the taxpayer.

Final salary pension schemes, now closed in most of the private sector, are only one area in which the public sector is more generous. The Office for National Statistics calculated in 2019 that on average public sector earnings are 7% higher than private sector wages for equivalent jobs.

But life is very different for a trainee nurse or a school cleaner than the people at the top of the other end of the income scale. The ranks of the highest paid officials are dominated by health board leaders and university vice chancellors and they are overwhelmingly male.

For our report, we’ve included the list of the highest salaries drawn from all parts of the public sector at the top. And further down in the article we’ve compiled more detailed reports for different sectors which also include other parts of the total remuneration including pension contributions.

These are the people with the highest basic salaries in public sector jobs in Wales for the 2021-22 financial year (or 2021 academic year).

Swansea University Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle Photo:Martin Ellard


  1. Professor Paul Boyle, vice chancellor Swansea University: £312,000

  2. Colin Riordan, vice chancellor Cardiff University: £289,000

  3. Professor Cara Aitchison, vice chancellor Cardiff Met University: £257,500

  4. Medwin Hughes, vice chancellor University of Wales Trinity St David: £240,000

  5. Elizabeth Treasure, vice chancellor Aberystwyth University: £236,000

  6. Mark Hackett, chief executive Swansea Bay health board: £220-225,000

  7. Jo Whitehead, chief executive Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board: £220-225,000


Andrew Goodall, permanent secretary Welsh Government: £215-220,000


Giles Thorley, chief executive of Development Bank of Wales: £210,929


Paul Mears, chief executive Cwm Taf health board: £205-210,000


Professor Maria Hinfelaar, vice chancellor, Wrexham Glyndŵr University: £206,654

  1. Steve Moore, chief executive Hywel Dda health board: £200-205,000

  2. Richard Evans, medical director Swansea Bay health board: £190-195,000

  3. Dr James Calvert, medical director Aneurin Bevan health board: £185-190,000


Paul Orders, chief executive Cardiff council: £188,166


Phil Kloer, executive medical director/deputy chief executive Hywel Dda health board: £180-185,000

And these are the top earners broken down by sector, once basic salary, benefits and pension contributions are all taken into account.

Welsh councils

(Image: Huw Jones Photography)


Here are the salaries of every chief executive of Wales’ 22 unitary authorities (including basic salary, benefits and pension contributions) for 2021-22:

Local Authority Basic salary/Pension contribution

Total remuneration

Paul Orders, Cardiff

£188,166/£38,950

£227,116

Paul Mee, Rhondda Cynon Taf

£157,000/£33,000

£190,000

Caroline Turner, Powys

£147,000/£39,000

£186,000

Wendy Walters, Carmarthenshire

£156,137/£28,227

£184,364

Christina Harrhy, Caerphilly

£146,848/£27,456

£174,304

Mark Shephard, Bridgend

£145,099/£28,730

£173,829

Rob Thomas, Vale of Glamorgan

£140,721/£29,833

£170,544

Ian Bancroft, Wrexham

£133,930/£31,112

£165,042

Beverly Owen, Newport

£133,754/£28,356

£162,110

Karen Jones, Neath Port Talbot

£137,623/£23,281

£160,904

Ellis Cooper, Merthyr Tydfil

£127,135/£31,112

£158,247

Iwan Davies*, Conwy

£129,195/£25,581

£154,776

Eifion Evans, Ceredigion

£132,060/£20,865

£152,925

Paul Matthews, Monmouthshire

£121,754/£28,125

£149,879

Annwen Morgan**, Anglesey (up to 20/03/22)

£122,940/£25,405

£148,345

Neal Cockerton, Flintshire (from 01/11/21)

£114,297/£26,974

£141,271

Michelle Morris, Blaenau Gwent

£111,055/£26,098

£137,153

Dafydd Gibbard, Gwynedd (from 10/05/21)

£99,317/£20,225

£119,542

Stephen Vickers, Torfaen (from 05/07/21)

£92,874/£22,661

£115,535

Graham Boase, Denbighshire (from 01/08/21)

£89,492/£21,478

£110,970

Will Bramble, Pembrokeshire (from 13/09/21)

£79,141/£13,533

£92,674

Swansea

Not available “due to ongoing Covid pandemic”

* Since replaced by Rhun ap Gareth, ** Since replaced by Dylan Williams,

Welsh Government/Quangos

1. Andrew Goodall

Dr Andrew Goodall is the top civil servant in Wales(Image: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency)


Job: Chief Executive NHS Wales / Permanent secretary at Welsh Government

Basic annual salary: £215-220,000

Total remuneration: £215-220,000*

Andrew Goodall was appointed permanent secretary on November 1, 2021. Before this he was director general HSSG and chief executive NHS Wales. The salary pay banding above reflects the payments in total received for both those roles in the year. His comparable full time equivalent salary as permanent secretary is £215,000 to £220,000.

2. Giles Thorley

Giles Thornley


Job: Chief executive of Development Bank Wales

Total remuneration: £210,929

Before joining the Development Bank of Wales, Giles Thorley was a partner at private equity firm TDR Capital LLP. He is also currently chair of ZipWorld plc, and he acts as consultant/angel investor on a number of business start-ups.

3. Professor Push Mangat

Push Mangat of NHS Wales(Image: NHS Wales)


Job: Medical director of Health, Education and Improvement Wales

Basic salary: £165-170,000 Pension contribution: £49,000

Total remuneration: £215-220,000

Professor Mangat was appointed as a consultant in intensive care and anaesthesia in 1994. Before joining HEIW in September 2018 he was deputy medical director at ABMU health board. The HEIW has a leading role in providing the healthcare workforce in Wales with education, training and development.

4. Dr Tracey Cooper

Tracey Cooper, chief executive of Public Health Wales(Image: Wales Online)


Job: Chief executive of Public Health Wales

Basic salary: £165-170,000 Pension contribution: £44,000

Total remuneration: £205-210,000

Dr Cooper qualified as a doctor at Southampton University in 1990 and her role with PHW is to oversee work to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales and to reduce health inequalities.

5. Manon Antoniazzi

Manon Antoniazzi


Job: Chief executive and clerk of the Senedd

Basic salary: £160-165,000 Pension contribution: £62,000

Total remuneration: £220-225,000

Appointed in April 2017, she is responsible for ensuring that the Senedd, and the sixty Members of the Senedd, are provided with the property, staff and services so that the Senedd inspires confidence and has a reputation for accessible and efficient democracy.

6. James Price

(Image: Richard Williams/WalesOnline)


Job: Chief executive for Transport for Wales

Basic salary: £160-165,000 Pension contribution: £30-35,000

Total remuneration: £190-195,000

Before taking his post aa chief executive in January 2018, James Price spent two years as chair of Transport for Wales during its start-up phase. He was deputy permanent secretary at the Welsh Government and was the additional accounting officer for economy, transport, skills and natural resources, leading a team of around 2,500 civil servants until the end of 2017.

7. Alex Howells

Job: Chief executive of Health, Education and Improvement Wales

Basic salary: £155-160,000 Pension contribution: £69,000

Total remuneration: £225-230,000

Alex Howells started working in the NHS as a graduate management trainee and has held a number of senior management posts across south Wales over the last 20 years, including nine years as director of planning for Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust. She was appointed CEO of HEIW in February 2018.

8. Rhidian Hurle

Job: Executive medical director/Chief clinical information officer Wales for Digital Health and Care Wales

Basic salary: £155-160,000 Pension contribution *As DHCW only became fully operational on 1st April 2021 it is not possible to include prior year pension benefit figures for Senior Management. A full disclosure will be made in the 2022-23 Remuneration Report

Total remuneration: £155-160,000

Rhidian Hurle is a Consultant Urological Surgeon working part time in Cwm Taf Morgannwg Heath Board and was appointed Chief Clinical Information Officer for Wales and Medical Director of NHS Wales Informatics Services in May 2015 prior to joining the new special health authority Digital Health Care Wales.

9. Nick Bennett

Nick Bennett, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales(Image: UGC)


Job: Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

Basic salary: £150-155,000 Pension contribution: £59,000

Total remuneration: £210-215,000

Mr Bennett left the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales after seven years in the job. His role comes with legal powers to look into complaints about public services and independent care providers in Wales. He was appointed a director with global property advisory firm Savills in April 2022.

10. Ann-Marie Harkin

Job: Executive director for Audit Wales

Basic salary: £150-155,000 Pension contribution: £59,000

Total remuneration: £210-215,000

Ann-Marie Harkin was appointed executive director of audit services in February 2021. She has worked in professional audit throughout her career joining the Wales Audit Office on its formation in 2005. She won the Leading Wales Women in Leadership award in 2016.

11. Helen Thomas

Job: Chief executive for Digital Health and Care Wales

Basic salary: £150-155,000 Pension contribution *As DHCW only became fully operational on 1st April 2021 it is not possible to include prior year pension benefit figures for Senior Management. A full disclosure will be made in the 2022-23 Remuneration Report

Total remuneration: £150-155,000

Helen was appointed as the CEO of Digital Health & Care Wales in 2021, having spent the previous year as the Interim Director of the NHS Wales Informatics Service.

12. Mark Drakeford

First Minister Mark Drakeford giving his St David’s Day message.(Image: Welsh Government)


Job: First Minister of Wales

Basic salary: £147,983 Pension contribution: £33,000

Total remuneration: £205,000

Mark Drakeford has served as First Minister of Wales and leader of Welsh Labour since 2018. He previously served in the Welsh Government as cabinet secretary for finance from 2016 to 2018 and minister for health and social services from 2013 to 2016.

13. Claire Pillman

Job: Chief executive of Natural Resources Wales

Basic salary: £140-145,000 Pension contribution: £23,000

Total remuneration: £160-165,000

Appointed in 2018, Ms Pillman heads up Wales’ largest Welsh Government sponsored body which has a budget of £180m and employs 1,900 staff.

14. Huw George

Job: Deputy chief executive and executive director of operations and finance for Public Health Wales

Basic salary: £135-140,000 Pension contribution: £56,000

Total remuneration: £190-195,000

Mr George joined PHW in 2010 as the director of finance having trained as a chartered accountant, working in London, Cardiff and Brazil, before joining the NHS in 1994.

15. Dr David Blaney

Job: Chief executive of Higher Education Funding Council Wales

Basic salary: £135-140,000 Pension contribution: £31,155

Total remuneration: £165-170,000

Mr Blaney was appointed to the top job at the HEFCW, which regulates higher education providers in Wales, in 2012.

16. Philip Baker

Job: Chief executive Qualifications Wales

Basic salary: £130-135,000 Pension contribution: £47,000

Total remuneration: £175-180,000

Qualifications Wales regulates qualifications, other than degrees, in Wales and regulates qualifications that are developed and delivered by the awarding bodies that it recognises.

17. Dr Fu-Meng Khaw

Job: National director for health protection and screening services/executive medical director at Public Health Wales

Basic salary: £120-125,000 Pension contribution: £316,000

Total remuneration: £435-440,000

Dr Fu-Meng Khaw was appointed to the top health protection post for Wales in March 2021.

18. Reg Kilpatrick

Job: Director general at Welsh Government

Basic salary: £120-125,000 Pension contribution: £100-105,000

Total remuneration: £220-225,000

Reg began his career as an aircraft engineer before completing a degree in Behavioural Sciences. He was appointed the director general role in 2020 to coordinate the cross government response to the Covid pandemic.

19. Gareth O’Shea

Job: Executive director of operations for Natural Resources Wales

Basic salary: £120-125,000 Pension contribution: £93,000

Total remuneration: £215-220,000

20. Sue Evans

Job: Chief executive of Social Care Wales

Basic salary: £120-125,000 Pension contribution: £38,200

Total remuneration: £155-160,000

Mrs Evans worked for the NHS before taking up her role at Social Care Wales. Her job is to oversee the development of the workforce, to improve care and support and to increase public confidence in care.

21. Rachel Cunningham

Job: Executive director finance and corporate services for Natural Resources Wales

Basic salary: £115-120,000 Pension contribution: £76,000

Total remuneration: £190-195,000

Rachel Cunningham was appointed in May 2020 having previously spent 17 years at the DVLA.

22. Kellie Beirne

(Image: Tom Damsell – Fragment Imagery)


Job: Director of Cardiff Capital Region City Deal

Basic salary: £118,554 Pension contribution: £27,387

Total remuneration: £145,942

The City Deal is a programme agreed in 2016 between the UK Government, the Welsh Government and the ten local authorities of South East Wales. It has a ring-fenced £1.2bn investment fund, £734m of which is ring-fenced for Metro developments, and hopes to have delivered 25,000 new jobs, generated an additional £4bn of private sector investment into the region and increased GVA by 5% over the next 20 years.

23. Neil Lewis

Job: Director of people and organisational development for Public Health Wales

Basic salary: £100-105,000 Pension contribution: £91,000

Total remuneration: £195-200,000

24. Dyfed Alsop

Job: Chief executive of Welsh Revenue Authority

Basic salary: £100-105,000 Pension contribution: £28,000

Total remuneration: £125-130,000

Mr Alsop is the first chief executive of the Welsh Revenue Authority and he started his career in the private sector working for HSBC in Wales and internationally in Spain, Argentina and Brazil.

25. Hayden Llewellyn

Job: Chief executive of Education Workforce Council

Basic salary: £95-100,000 Pension contribution: £24,000

Total remuneration: £120-125,000

Mr Llewellyn joined the Council at its inception in 2000, working initially as deputy chief executive, before assuming the role of chief executive in 2014. The Council is the independent regulator for the education workforce in Wales, covering teachers and learning support staff in school and further education settings, qualified youth/youth support workers and work-based learning practitioners.

26. Brian Davies OBE

Job: Acting chief executive at Sport Wales

Basic salary: £85-90,000 Pension contribution: £56,000

Total remuneration: £140-145,000

Brian Davies spent six seasons playing for the Saracens, four of them as captain. He earned an OBE for his work as team manager of Team Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

27. Aled Roberts

Welsh language commissioner Aled Roberts(Image: Daily Post Wales)


Job: Former Welsh Language Commissioner

Basic salary: £85-90,000 Pension contribution: £32,000

Total remuneration: £115-120,000

Mr Robert oversaw the promotion of the Welsh language by raising awareness of the official status of the Welsh language in Wales and imposing standards on organisations. The Commissioner’s term of office ended on 13/02/2022, following his death. The full time equivalent salary was between £95,000 and £100,000.

* Mr Roberts has been succeeded by Ela Gruffudd Jones

28. Owen Evans

Owen Evans(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)


Job: Chief inspector of education and training in Wales, Estyn (from 01/01/2022)

Basic salary: £45-50,000 (full time equivalent salary £135-140,000) Pension contribution: £13,000

Total remuneration: £45-50,000

Owen Evans is responsible for the inspection of education and training in Wales, as well as the management, staffing and organisation of Estyn itself.

Health

1. Jo Whitehead

Jo Whitehead, Betsi Cadwaladr’s chief executive(Image: BCUHB)


Job: Chief executive Betsi Cadwaladr health board

Basic salary: £220-225,000 Pension contribution: £20,000

Total remuneration: £245-250,000 *includes benefits in kind £5,700

2. Mark Hackett

Mark Hackett, chief executive of Swansea Bay University Health Board (Image: Richard Youle)


Job: Chief executive Swansea Bay health board

Basic salary: £220-225,000

Total remuneration: £220-225,000

3. Paul Mears

Job: Chief executive Cwm Taf health board

Basic salary: £205-210,000 Pension contribution: £75,000

Total remuneration: £280-285,000

4. Steve Moore

Job: Chief executive of Hywel Dda health board

Basic salary: £200-205,000 Pension contribution: £80-85,000

Total remuneration: £280-285,000

5. Richard Evans

Job: Medical director Swansea Bay health board

Basic salary: £190-195,000 Pension contribution: £85,000

Total remuneration: £275-280,000

6. Dr James Calvert

Job: Medical director Aneurin Bevan health board

Basic salary: £185-190,000 Pension contribution: £290,000

Total remuneration: £475-480,000

7. Phil Kloer

Job: Executive medical director/deputy chief executive of Hywel Dda health board

Basic salary: £180-185,000 Pension contribution: £60-65,000

Total remuneration: £240-245,000

8. Glyn Jones

Job: Interim chief executive Aneurin Bevan health board/executive director of finance and performance

Basic salary: £175-180,000 Pension contribution: £81,000

Total remuneration: £255-260,000

9. Catherine Phillips

Job: Executive director of finance at Cardiff and Vale health board

Basic salary: £175-180,000 Pension contribution: £81,000

Total remuneration: £255-260,000

10. Carol Shillabeer

Job: Chief executive Powys health board

Basic salary: £175-180,000 Pension contribution: £61,000

Total remuneration: £235-240,000

11. Gill Harris

Job: Deputy chief executive Betsi Cadwaladr health board/executive director of nursing and midwifery

Basic salary: £175-180,000

Total remuneration: £175-180,000

12. Jason Killens

Jason Killens(Image: WalesOnline/ Rob Browne)


Job: Chief executive of Welsh Ambulance Service

Basic salary: £160-165,000 Pension contribution: £35,000

Total remuneration: £195-200,000

Higher Education

Cardiff University vice-chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan.


Welsh university vice chancellors ranked by total remuneration. Not all are members of the final pension scheme and some also receive benefits in kind such as a car and driver and accommodation.Vice chancellorUniversityBasic salaryPension contributionTotal remunerationProfessor Paul BoyleSwansea University*£312,000£17,000£329,000Colin RiordanCardiff University£289,000£16,000£326,000

Professor Cara Aitchison

Cardiff Met University£257,000£304,846

Medwin Hughes

University of Wales Trinity St David£240,000£54,000£297,000Elizabeth TreasureAberystwyth University£236,000£13,000£271,000Professor Maria HinfelaarWrexham Glyndŵr University£206,654£48,936£255,590

Professor Iwan DaviesBangor University£223,000**

Dr Ben Calvert

University of South Wales£170,000 £40,000£211,000

*Included within the Vice-Chancellor’s salary for 2022 is a £15k accommodation allowance

**includes the employer contribution to the USS deficit recovery plan

Emergency Services/Local Government

1. Jeremy Vaughan

Chief constable of south wales police Jeremy Vaughan(Image: South Wales Police)


Job: Chief constable, South Wales Police

Basic salary: £166,911 Pension contribution: £51,742

Total remuneration: £218,988

2. Chris Davies

Job: Chief fire officer, Mid and West Wales Fire Service

Basic salary: £158,332

Total remuneration: £158,362

*Chris Davies retired on 06/04/2022

3. Carl Foulkes

Job: Chief constable, North Wales Police

Basic salary: £155,809 Pension contribution: £48,201

Total remuneration: £222,687*

*Includes benefits in kind of £18,577

4. Pam Kelly

(Image: Gwent Police)


Job: Chief constable, Gwent Police

Basic salary: £149,913 Pension contribution: £46,473

Total remuneration: £205,145*

*Includes benefits in kind of £8,759

5. Huw Jakeway

Job: Chief fire officer, South Wales Fire Service

Basic salary: £140,000 Pension contribution: £38,000

Total remuneration: £178,000

6. Rachel Bacon

Job: Deputy chief constable, South Wales Police

Basic salary: £130,818 Pension contribution: £40,554

Total remuneration: £239,516*

*Includes benefits on kind worth £67,370

Rachel Bacon joined South Wales Police in April 2021 from Northumbria Police, where she was assistant chief constable with responsibility for criminal justice, crime, safeguarding and the regional organised crime unit.

7. Rachel Williams

Job: Deputy chief constable, Gwent Police

Basic salary: £123,648 Pension contribution: £38,331

Total remuneration: £172,113*

*Includes benefits on kind worth £10,134

8. Tegryn Jones

Job: Chief executive, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

Basic salary: £85,000 Pension contribution: £9,000

Total remuneration: £95,000*

*Includes benefits on kind worth £1,000

9. Catherine Mealing-Jones

Job: Chief executive, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Basic salary: £57,000* Pension contribution: £12,000

Total remuneration: £69,000

*Catherine Mealing-Jones took up the post in July 2021.

The following accounts for 2021/22 were not available: Dyfed-Powys Police, North Wales Fire Service, Snowdonia National Park Authority.

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