THE boss of Darlington Building Society has been criticised after receiving a £27,000 increase in the financial package paid to him last year.

David Dodd, who plans to retire later this year, saw his overall remuneration leap to £186,161 - a 16.5 per cent rise on the 2012 figure of £159,722.

The chief executive’s salary rose from £142,127 to £158,597 but Mr Dodd also received £11,000 in bonuses in 2013, while pension contributions he received from the society also increased.

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Details of directors’ pay is included in the accounts for the year ending December 31 2013, which will be presented to members at an annual general meeting at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, on April 17.

They show that group profits grew year-on-year from £1.45m in 2012 to £2.02m last year, while total assets increased to £519.8m last year, a 1.7 per cent rise.

Seven executives, including Mr Dodd, finance director Janice Lincoln and operations director Paul Richardson, shared £42,000 between them under an ‘executive bonus scheme’.

Bryan Webster, a former Methodist minister in Darlington and a retired management consultant who has been a member of the society for more than 20 years, said Mr Dodd’s rise was “excessive”.

He said: “If I worked in a branch I would feel choked that the chief executive is being paid extra what is probably more than my annual salary.

“In a time of austerity when everyone is being asked to tighten their belts I struggle to understand why [Mr Dodd] should suddenly get such a hefty increase.

“The other directors have done quite well too. It seems to be a case of ‘You scratch my back I scratch yours’.”

Members will be asked to approve the society’s accounts at the meeting next month, but Mr Webster said he would not vote in accordance with the recommendations.

Mr Dodd, 57, joined Darlington Building Society in 1998 and has been its chief executive since 2009.

A spokeswoman for the society, which has 108 staff, said the package given to Mr Dodd was agreed by its remuneration committee, which followed a national code of practice.

She said: “The remuneration rise appears larger than normal because it includes a delayed bonus from three years ago.

“At that time of economic uncertainty the chief executive met the tough challenges set by the board. His performance triggered a bonus, but the payment was delayed in order that a positive upward trend was established and verified.”

Introducing the accounts, chairman James Ramsbotham said Mr Dodd had done “more than anyone could ask to build a platform for future sustainable growth” for the building society.