Law Society chief executive Des Hudson saw his remuneration package fall 16% last year, the society’s annual accounts have shown.
The Law Society recorded a net deficit of £22.7m in 2012 – more than the £10m which had been budgeted for as a result of IT project overruns. Income for 2012 was £120m.
In 2012, Mr Hudson received salary and benefits of £340,000 and no pension contributions, having received £376,000 pay and £31,000 in pension contributions, a total of £407,000, the year before.
Until 2012 his pay had risen substantially since joining the Law Society. The 2007 accounts, Mr Hudson’s first full year as chief executive, had him on a package worth £230,726.
A Law Society spokesman said: “[Mr Hudson’s] reward package is determined by reference to criteria set each year by an independent remuneration committee. In 2012 he chose a salary enhancement in lieu of pension contribution.”
The accounts, which will be presented to Thursday’s annual general meeting, reveal that he was also paid £25,000 as a director of Queen’s Counsel Appointments, the joint Law Society/Bar Council body that handles the award of the QC mark. The spokesman said this acknowledges his contribution, in an ex-officio capacity, to the body’s work and is made to the Law Society, rather than Mr Hudson personally.
Antony Townsend, chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), saw his package rise 9%, with salary and benefits of £225,000 (up from £209,000) and pension contributions of £26,000 (up from £21,000).
In all the Law Society paid £51.7m in employment costs across the two organisations in 2012, a drop of 6.6%. However, the number of staff fell 10% from 1,023 to 919, with the reduction in posts split fairly evenly between the Law Society and SRA, which as of 31 December 2012 employed 376 and 543 people respectively.
The Law Society spokesman said the higher than anticipated deficit was largely made up of a £4.4m charge for depreciation, £5.9m of fixed assets impairment costs, and £3.2m provision for future costs arising from the assigned risks pool.
He said: “The deficit will be funded from accounting reserves. We were aware of most of the costs; however the fixed asset impairment arose towards the end of the year, after we reviewed our levels of capitalisation and cost savings.”