How Infosys chief exec Sikka’s pay package compares with top Indian CEOs
Reuters | Photo Credit: Reuters

The recent public spat between the founders of IT giant Infosys Ltd and the top management has yet again brought to fore how corporate pay packages are skewed heavily in favour of top managers.

On 13 February, a VCCircle analysis had revealed that the top bosses of Indian IT companies get anywhere between 90 and 3,400 times the median salaries, with Tech Mahindra, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services emerging as the most generous of the 10 listed companies in the sector. The median salary effectively represents the “midpoint,” with half the employees earning less than that figure.  

But how well does the rest of India Inc pay its top bosses in absolute, as well as relative terms? To find out, VCCircle trawled through the latest annual reports of the top 30 private companies by market capitalisation that are listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Besides the cash component, stock options exercised during the financial year, have been considered as part of the total pay package, and the ratio to the median employee remuneration has been calculated thereof. 

Government-owned companies and banks were excluded from the list because their top managers are typically paid in line with government salaries. They also do not usually get stock options and other perks that their private counterparts enjoy.

Among the 24 companies considered, construction giant Larsen & Toubro paid its chief AM Naik a little more than Rs 66 crore, which was one thousand times the company’s median pay scale. Close on his heels was Hero MotoCorp Ltd’s Pawan Munjal at 755 times the company’s median pay. Munjal’s closest auto sector rival, Bajaj Auto Ltd’s managing director Rajiv Bajaj, however, received less than half this amount in 2015-16, while Mahindra & Mahindra’s Pawan Goenka came a distant third.

Among IT bosses, Infosys’ Vishal Sikka topped the list with a total remuneration of just under Rs 49 crore, followed by TCS’ N Chandrasekaran. As the earlier VCCircle analysis had shown, two Tech Mahindra bosses – executive vice-chairman Vineet Nayyar and managing director CP Gurnani took home Rs 179 crore and Rs 45 crore, respectively, bagging two of the top three positions on the earlier list. However, Tech Mahindra do not make the cut here because it does not figure among BSE-30 companies.

Among bankers, HDFC Bank chief Aditya Puri was the highest paid executive, with ICICI Bank’s Chanda Kochhar trailing him by more than Rs 12 crore. Puri, in comparison, was paid almost 584 times the median pay. Axis Bank’s Shikha Sharma, the only other banker on the list, took home just a sixth of what Puri did.

Several other highly paid executives, including Nayyar and Gurnani, do not figure on this list because the companies they work for are not among the top 30 on the BSE.

In October, VCCircle had reported that the number of directors of public companies who drew a pay package of over Rs 1 crore in 2015 swelled to over 1,000 for the first time ever as public companies generated sharp improvement in profits. The report was based on data from Capitaline.

The analysis showed that as many as 1,060 directors of listed firms took home Rs 1 crore or more in 2015. This, the report said, indicated a breakout from 600-800 for the past many years.

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