Average salary of India's top CEOs jumps to Rs20 cr

In a sharp jump, the average salary of chief executives at top-listed companies in the private sector is approaching Rs20 crore - double the level seen just two years ago at about Rs10 crore.

However, this remains less than one-sixth of the average CEO salaries at the top listed companies in the US, which stood at close to $20 million (about Rs130 crore) in 2015 despite a decline from the previous year.

In India, the average CEO salaries at top private companies is way above the same at their public sector counterparts, which stands at about Rs25-30 lakh.

An analysis of the CEO salaries for the latest financial year 2015-16 disclosed by the country's top listed companies forming part of the stock market benchmark index Sensex shows that they paid an average overall remuneration of close to Rs19 crore to their top executives.

This includes salary, commissions, allowances, value of all perquisites and ESOPs exercised during the year, among other benefits disclosed by the companies as part of the total remuneration to their top-paid executives which included executive chairpersons, CEOs and managing directors.

The analysis is based on the disclosures made by 20 out of the total 24 private sector companies on the Sensex, as the remaining four are yet to disclose their figures.

Among the six PSUs on the Sensex, the figure for 2015-16 is available as yet only in case of State Bank of India (SBI), whose chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya got just about Rs31.1 lakh.

Among the private sector giants on the Sensex, the highest-paid in 2015-16 included L&T's A M Naik (Rs 66.14 crore, more than half of which was 'value of perquisites' at nearly Rs39 crore), Infosys' Vishal Sikka (Rs48.73 crore) and Lupin's Deshbandhu Gupta (Rs44.8 crore).

Those at the lower end in terms of overall remuneration were mostly bankers and included Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma (Rs5.5 crore), ICICI Bank's Chanda Kochhar (Rs6.6 crore), HDFC Bank's Aditya Puri (Rs 9.7 crore).

Housing finance giant HDFC Ltd's chairman Deepak Parekh was paid just Rs1.89 crore, while vice chairman and chief executive Keki Mistry got Rs9.3 crore and managing director Renu Sud Karnad got Rs8.5 crore.

The latest figures were not available for four companies - Sun Pharmaceuticals, Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp and Cipla.

The average CEO salary at the Sensex companies stood at about Rs9.9 crore in 2013-14, before rising to nearly Rs14 crore in 2014-15. It was lower at Rs8.5 crore in 2012-13.

For the latest fiscal, Reliance Industries Ltd's Mukesh Ambani got Rs15 crore as its chairman and managing director, while Gautam Adani was paid Rs2.8 crore in the same role at Adani Ports and SEZ.

At Adani Ports, whole time director Malay Mahadevia was paid Rs10.7 crore, while the company said that Karan Adani, who was appointed CEO with effect from 1 January 2016, did not draw any remuneration for the year.

At Bajaj Auto, chairman Rahul Bajaj was paid Rs11.3 crore, while son Rajiv Bajaj got Rs22.32 crore as its MD. Vice chairman Madhur Bajaj was paid Rs8.5 crore.

In case of Tata Motors, the newly appointed CEO and MD Guenter Butschek was paid Rs5.04 crore for the one-and-half-month period that he served during the fiscal ended 31 March 2016. His remuneration for period starting 15 February 2016 till 31 March next has been pegged by the company at Rs27.24 crore.

At M&M, chief Anand Mahindra was paid Rs6.58 crore, while executive director Pawan Goenka got Rs11.6 crore (a significant part of which came from exercise of stock options).

Hindustan Unilever CEO Sanjiv Mehta's total remuneration was Rs13.87 crore.

Engineering and construction conglomerate L&T paid S N Subrahmanyan, who has been named as Naik's successor, Rs22.12 crore, while K Venkatramanan, who retired during the last fiscal, got Rs43.3 crore.

Among other Sensex companies, Asian Paints CEO K B S Anand got Rs 7.7 crore (up 27 per cent), while Dr Reddy's chairman K Satish Reddy was paid Rs 8.8 crore and CEO G V Prasad got Rs 11.9 crore.

Tata Steel's MD T V Narendran got Rs7.3 crore, while whole time director and CFO Kaushik Chatterjee got Rs7.4 crore.

The total remuneration of Lupin's vice chairman Kamal Sharma was Rs 25.7 crore, as against chairman D B Gupta's Rs44.8 crore.

TCS's N Chandrasekaran got total remuneration of Rs25.6 crore, while the same for ITC's Y C Deveshwar was Rs15.15 crore.

At Wipro, chairman Azim Premji got Rs2.17 crore, while the same for his son and chief strategy officer Rishad was a little lower at Rs2.15 crore. Vice chairman and former CEO T K Kurien got Rs13.66 crore, while the new CEO Abidali Neemuchwala got Rs11.96 crore.

In case of Bharti Airtel, chairman Sunil Mittal's total remuneration was Rs27.8 crore, while that of MD and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal was Rs10.4 crore.