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Meet India’s highest paid corporate executives

18 September, 2013
Husband wife duo Kalanithi Maran and Kavery Maran, promoters of media group Sun TV Network and budget airline SpiceJet, have once again emerged as the top-paid corporate executives in the country, pipping Naveen Jindal, a peek at directors’ remuneration disclosures for the last financial year reveals.
 
Jindal Steel & Power chief and Congress politician Jindal has been the most-paid executive among directors of public listed firms for three years consecutively, after overtaking Marans in FY10 for the first time. He went on to draw as much as Rs 73.41 crore for the year ended March 31, 2012, a record remuneration paid by a listed Indian firm to an executive, ever.
 
 
However, his total remuneration dipped last year to Rs 54.98 crore as the commission paid out of earnings of the firm declined 30 per cent. This was in line with a 26 per cent drop in the company’s net profit. Jindal saw his salary rise marginally which partly made up for his total remuneration which still declined by 25.1 per cent during the period.
 
 
This was enough to let Marans move to the top once again. The husband-wife duo also saw a marginal dip in their commission earning from Sun TV Network but simultaneously witnessed their salaries rise over 23 per cent to 56.25 crore and Rs 56.24 crore, respectively.
 

Given the forex rates early this year, all three pocketed around $10 million each.
 
 
The rest of the top 10 list remains more or less the same as last year with the sole exception of Hero MotoCorp’s Sunil Kant Munjal joining the most-paid club while BGR Energy’s BG Raghupathy, who recently passed away, dropped out of the list. 

 
Industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla, by virtue of his remuneration as director of key group firms such as UltraTech, Grasim, Hindalco and Aditya Birla Nuvo, was the fourth most paid corporate honcho. He was followed by Hero MotoCorp’s Pawan Kant Munjal, Brijmohan Lall Munjal and Sunil Kant Munjal.
 
Ramco Cement (formerly Madras Cements) chief PRR Rajha, JSW Steel chief Sajjan Jindal (also an elder brother of Naveen Jindal), Murali Divi of Divis Labs completed the rest of the top 10 list. 
 
 
In aggregate these 10 executives took home around Rs 400 crore against Rs 408 crore that the top 10 (accounting for one change in the list) pocketed the previous year. This marked a 2 per cent decline after rising around 4.6 per cent from Rs 390 crore that the top paid executives had pulled in during FY11. The overall payment to the top 10 corporate executives galloped from Rs 249 crore in FY08 (one of the best years for corporate India).
 
 
Other notable names who narrowly missed out of the top list include Bharti Airtel’s Sunil Mittal, Apollo Tyre’s Onkar Kanwar and Amara Raja Battery’s Jayadev Galla, all of whom pocketed around Rs 24 crore each last year. 
 
Professionals
 
While promoter directors of firms continued to dominate the most-paid list in FY13, a few professionals like Debu Bhattacharya of Hindalco and L&T veteran AM Naik are close to breaking into the exclusive club.
 
The list of professionals among the top-paid executives was led by Naik, who pocketed Rs 21.05 crore last year with Bhattacharya close behind. Bhattacharya saw his total pay package rising 5.6 per cent to Rs 20.6 crore last year.
 
Among other big earners were former chief of Cairn India Rahul Dhir who received Rs 17.07 crore for half of the year. Dhir had quit the firm last September and has thereafter floated an Africa-focused energy firm with Warbug Pincus’ backing.
 
Markand Bhatt of Torrent Power, Nitin Paranjpe of Hindustan Unilever, N Chandrasekaran of TCS, Karl Slym of Tata Motors and Rahul Khosla of Max India are among other most paid professionals sitting on the boards of listed firms in India.
 
A few of these professionals’ overall remuneration is much higher given the value of stock options granted during the year. However, as corporate disclosures for such grants are not uniform (some firms club them with disclosed value of perks) nor detailed with respect to option price, it is not possible to make a one-on-one comparison incorporating the same.
 
Such options are a critical part of remuneration, especially for financial services firms such as banks, whose top executives have pretty average cash components but lucrative stock options. Naik of L&T happens to be one of the most wealthy professionals in the country by virtue of his holding accumulated through stock options over the years.
 
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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Meet India’s highest paid corporate executives

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