A salary higher than the Prime Minister's may be needed to attract a "top-class" principal for a university, MSPs have been told.
Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, principal of Edinburgh University, was paid £227,000 in 2011-12 compared to David Cameron's salary of £142,500.
Stuart Monro, vice chair of Edinburgh University Court, said the wages paid to the principal had not increased for the last four years because of the current financial climate.
He told MSPs on Holyrood's Education Committee: "It creates concerns for me because somewhere down the line I'm going to have to, or my successor is going to have to, appoint a new principal of Edinburgh University.
"I'm not sure if I would be able to get a top-class principal of a university on the salary that we pay the prime minister."
When asked by Nationalist MSP Joan McAlpine if it was right for a university principal to be paid more than the Prime Minister, Mr Monro said he was "in no position to judge" what the salary should be for that job.
But he said: "I think I am in a position to judge the sort of salary that a principal of a university, with a turnover of something in excess of £700 million a year, should actually be paid.
"The way in which I do that is really be benchmarking internationally, because that's the only guidance I've got. I've got to see what it is that is an appropriate level of salary for those elsewhere and judge that accordingly.
"Over the last four years there's been no increase in the salary of principal of Edinburgh University, I think that's responding to an attitude that's around at the present time."
An Edinburgh University spokesman said: "The principal is acutely aware of the need for restraint over public-sector pay and as such has personally refused a pay rise in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012."