Infosys to pay its new CEO Vishal Sikka Rs30 cr a year

Infosys Ltd will pay its new chief executive officer and managing director Vishal Sikka Rs30 crore (about $5.08 million) in annual salary besides a stock option of Rs 12 crore ($2 million), perhaps the highest for the CEO of an Indian company.

At Rs30 crore, Sikka will be drawing 60 per cent more than Tata Consultancy Services CEO N Chandrasekaran's annual salary of Rs18.6 crore.

Sikka will be paid an annual base salary of $9,00,000 (Rs 53,754,750) and annual variable pay of $4.18 million (Rs249,660,900), according to a company circular.

The former SAP executive is also entitled to an annual stock option equal to $2 million in value.

Sikka, 47, who was inducted into the board as a whole-time director and CEO and MD on 14 June, will take over as CEO and  MD from S D Shibulal on 1 August 2014.

The Infosys board of directors on 12 June announced the appointment of Vishal Sikka as the chief executive officer and managing director (CEO & MD) of the company.

Salary has not been a big issue for Infosys CEOs so far the company has always been headed by former founding members, who have typically settled for a lower salary and remuneration in the form of stock options.

In fact, Shibulal even took a pay cut in the 2013-14 financial year to take home a salary of just Rs16 lakh (around $26,113).

Against this, Stephen Pratt, the former head of utilities and resources for Infosys North America who resigned last year, took home a salary of $2.11 million.

For Infosys, Sikka, who takes the reins of the company after four straight years of narrowing margins and an unsuccessful attempt by its founder chairman N R Narayana Murthy to reverse the course of sagging fortunes, is a prize catch.

Until recently, a member of the executive board of SAP AG, Sikka was responsible for all products, from traditional and cloud-based applications to technology and platform products, including HANA, analytics, mobile and middleware. In addition, Sikka led multiple initiatives to accelerate innovation and research at SAP. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University, USA.

Since Murthy's return, Infosys has seen 11 top-level exits, including that of CFO V Balakrishnan, global manufacturing head Ashok Vemuri and president BG Srinivas. Veteran banker K V Kamath will replace Murthy as non-executive chairman of the Infosys board.

Sikka's total compensation package of $7.08 million, including stock options, however, is far less compared to the $18 million Microsoft pays to its chief executive, $16.2 million IBM CEO gets and $14.4 million Citibank CEO receives.