Rs. one-crore CEO salary is no big Indian deal

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New Delhi: The number of top management personnel getting a pay package running into crore of rupees has crossed the century mark.

About 175 of the over 4,500 listed companies in the country have disclosed the last pay package for their CEOs and other top managers. As many as 60 companies have paid in crore to one or more of their top executives.

So far, there are 105 top management personnel, who were paid annual remunerations in crore of rupees during the last fiscal, ended March, 2010, or December, 2009.

The list is topped by media barons Kalanithi Maran and his wife Kaveri Kalanithi with total remuneration of a little over Rs. 37 crore each in the fiscal ended March 2010. This is despite the couple capping their collective salary at Rs. 74.16 crore, about 22 percent below their entitlement of Rs. 94.8 crore for the year.

Maran, the Managing Director of Sun TV Network, and Kaveri, joint MD, opted to limit their remuneration for 2009-10 to Rs. 74.16 crore, the same paid to them in the last fiscal.

The list also includes Reliance Industries Chief Mukesh Ambani, who has also taken a voluntary pay cut and still figures among the highest paid so far with Rs. 15 crore, less than half of what he is eligible for. Four other executives from the same company earned in crores during the year.

While Ambani capped his salary at Rs. 15 crore for the second straight year, three RIL executive directors — P.M.S. Prasad, Hital Meswani and Nikhil Meswani — saw their remuneration rise to Rs. 1.53 crore, Rs. 11.14 crore and Rs. 11.14 crore respectively.

“The Chairman and Managing Director’s compensation has been set at Rs. 15 crore as against Rs. 39.36 crore that he is eligible as per the shareholders’ approval, reflecting his desire to set a personal example for moderation in managerial compensation levels,” RIL said in its annual report, the document where all listed companies disclose payouts to top management.

The remuneration paid to another RIL director, H.S. Kohli, declined from Rs. 1.35 crore to Rs. 1.32 crore, but he is no longer associated with the company and resigned on May 16.

At a time when there is a raging debate on right-sizing CEO salaries, RIL had announced in October last year that Mukesh Ambani would take a pay cut as a result of which his pay package dropped to Rs. 15 crore for the 2008-09 fiscal from over Rs. 44 crore in 2007-08. Mukesh Ambani was the top-paid executive in India during 2007-08

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