The wealthiest mandarin in Whitehall: How Boris’s covid guru Sir Patrick Vallance took a £600,000 pay cut to join government but bought a £1.8million house in cash (and is now set for another windfall – thanks to a £600,000 stake in vaccine search company)
The doom-saying expert whose Coronavirus fears saw new restrictions imposed on Britain is the richest mandarin in Whitehall, worth £10million – and could become even richer if his former employers develop a vaccine.
Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, projected a gloomy forecast this week for the Covid-19 pandemic as infections rose sharply.
It came two days before it was revealed he holds a deferred bonus of 43,111 shares in GlaxoSmithKline, worth £600,000 from his time as president of the multinational drug company.
The firm is one of many trying to develop a vaccine to treat deadly coronavirus as a further 6,874 people tested positive today. The Government said there was no conflict of interest and he had done nothing wrong.
GSK – one of 20 firms racing to find a cure – is where Sir Patrick earned part of the sizeable fortune that allows he and his family to live a life of luxury.
In a rare interview in 2015 he shot down critics who suggested he took the corporate role for the money after an academic early career at University College London.
He insisted to Radio 4’s The Life Scientific: ‘There’ll be people that carp and say you’ve gone to the dark side, you’ve done it for money, whatever.
‘There’s nothing you can do about that. That’s why the personal reputation bit you need to be comfortable with, before you make a decision like that.’
Sir Patrick Vallance and Prince Andrew in the centre pose for a picture in 2018
He went on to say he chose the company for the good it could do in bringing important new treatments to the world.
Currently he and his family live in a substantial semi-detached Victorian house worth £1.8million, which they bought in 2018 with cash.
They had to complete extensive renovations after it had been left completely gutted by a fire before they were involved in the property.
Parked on the drive was an R-class Mercedes which can cost up to £30,000 when bought new.
It is not known whether it belongs to his doctor wife Sophia Ann or any of their children.
The property is one of the largest on the well-heeled street, which is lined with expensive cars.
Sir Patrick’s house is worth at least £1.8millon and was paid for in cash back in 2018
Sir Patrick projected a doomsday scenario if coronvirus rate of infection carried on growing
A local said: ‘It is the poshest house in the area, to look at it you would think someone very important must live there.’
Sir Patrick was born in Essex in 1960 and educated at Truro school in Cornwall, which costs nearly £30,000 to board now.
He had considered being a chef but then began a life in science and medicine at university before going to GSK.
It would be the role that catapulted him to the prominence he holds today, so well-known he has own entry in Who’s Who, which lists his hobbies as ‘mushrooming, cooking, gardening’ and ‘playing tennis badly’.
Just 12 days into the job he was rubbing shoulders with royalty, pictured with Prince Andrew at an event.
After six years at GSK his base salary as Executive Director was £780,000 a year.
When he left he cashed in £5 million worth of shares he got from them from his time working there until March 2018.
And in 2017 when he took his current role as Government Chief Scientific Adviser Nature, the international weekly science journal, said his salary was up to £180,000 a year – more than the Prime Minister.
Now he is one of the most recognisable faces in Britain, after standing next to him day after day for the summer’s coronavirus press conferences.
As Professor of primary care at Oxford University Trisha Greenhalgh said at the start of lockdown in March ‘I knew Patrick Vallance before he was famous’.