A FORMER university chief was given a £230,000 departure payment in his final month in the post.

Professor Michael Farthing, vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex, was handed the sum in August last year “in lieu of notice”.

A spokeswoman for the university said it has an “open and transparent” approach to senior staff pay and it had met its “contractual obligations.”

The bombshell comes days after it was revealed Bath Spa University paid its outgoing vice-chancellor Professor Christina Slade £808,000.

Prof Farthing, who left the university at the end of August 2016 after nine years at the helm, was given a pay package worth £252,000 for the month.

As well as the payment in lieu of notice, this also included employer pension contributions worth £3,000.

Prof Farthing’s successor, Professor Adam Tickell, was paid £267,000 for the period of September 2016 to July this year plus £17,000 relocation costs and £9,000 in pension contributions.

A University of Sussex spokeswoman said: “The university’s approach to senior staff remuneration continues to be open and transparent and we take our governance responsibilities and sector compliance requirements very seriously.

“In the case of our former vice-chancellor, we met our contractual obligations to him and this has been clearly published in our annual financial accounts.”

Professor Farthing is chairman of the West Pier Trust.

Its website says he is currently honorary professor at University College London and Emeritus Professor at the University of Sussex.

He is also a member of the General Medical Council, chairman of the Charleston Trust and formerly a non-executive director of the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, says the website.

The figures come at a time when vice-chancellors’ pay is firmly in the spotlight with growing concern over spiralling salary hikes and several high-profile figures, including ministers, calling for restraint.

The Sussex accounts come just days after it was disclosed that another UK university boss was handed more than £800,000 for her final year as vice- chancellor, including a departure payment worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Professor Christina Slade, who served as vice-chancellor of Bath Spa University until August of this year, was paid a salary of £250,000 in 2016/17, plus £429,000 as “compensation for loss of office”.

She was also given a housing allowance of £320,000, a further £20,000 for “other benefits-in-kind” as well as pension contributions of £89,000, making the total of £808,000.