India Inc showed great resilience in the first year of the pandemic, managing decent profit growth, despite the lockdowns and impaired economic activity. The next year, 2021-22, was even better for companies as revival in economic activity with easing of the intensity of the pandemic helped revenue as well as profit growth. With companies turning in a robust performance, top honchos of companies too were able to take home a higher compensation last fiscal year.

An analysis of the remuneration of CEO/MDs of companies forming the Nifty 50 index shows that there was a 45 per cent increase in these payouts in FY22 compared to FY21. While average salary in FY21 was ₹16.41 crore, it increased to ₹23.83 crore in FY22.

While some CEOs such as Sajjan Jindal and C Vijaykumar got a large increase in their annual remunerations, others such as Uday Kotak and Mukesh Ambani decided to forego their pay last year.

Here’s a lowdown on what chiefs of the top Indian companies earned in FY22.

Those whose pay-packets soared

The jump in aggregate pay-packets of CEOs/MDs last fiscal year was largely due to sharp increases in the salaries of few. C Vijayakumar, CEO of HCL Technologies, got the largest increase in remuneration in FY22. He drew close to ₹131 crore as remuneration in FY22, which was ₹100 crore higher than the pay in FY21.

Around three-fourth of the compensation in 2021-22 was, however, due to long-term incentive received from HCL America Inc. This payout is made once in two years and was for FY20 and FY21. Vijaykumar took over as the CEO and Managing Director of the company in July 2021.

Sajjan Jindal got the second highest increase in remuneration, of more than ₹61 crore. From ₹73.38 crore in FY21, his salary increased to ₹134.8 crore in FY22, making him one of the highest paid managing directors in India. The profit linked commission earned by Sajjain Jindal more than doubled in FY22.

Third on the list is CP Gurnani MD & CEO of Tech Mahindra. His remuneration increased ₹48 crore in FY22. But a large part of the increase was due to ESOPs exercised by him during the year.

SN Subrahmanyan, Managing director and Chief Executive Officer of Larsen & Toubro, saw an increase of ₹32 crore in his remuneration in FY22. Other chiefs who witnessed large increases in their pay-packets were Satish Pai of Hindalco Industries and Salil Parekh of Infosys. 

Highest paid chiefs in FY22

Sajjan Jindal tops the list of the highest paid CEOs/MDs in FY22. As domestic demand and economic activity revived, JSW Steel delivered one of its performances last fiscal. “Our capacity utilisation levels remained high at 89 per cent, and we delivered record steel production,” says Sajjan Jindal in the annual report for 2021-22. “JSW Steel delivered its highest ever EBITDA of ₹39,007 crore and net profit of ₹20,938 crore.” While the shareholders took away record dividend of ₹17.35 per share, the CEO’s payout was also at record levels.

C Vijaykumar Chief Executive Officer of HCL Technologies, is the next in line, with ₹131 crore received as remuneration. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director of Hero MotoCorp, drew around ₹2 crore lesser in FY 2021-22 compared to the previous financial year. Despite this, he is the third highest paid among the Nifty 50 companies drawing ₹84.35 crore.

And then there were some who did not want to take any remuneration from the company they ran. Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries continued to forego his renumeration for the second consecutive year in FY22.

In view of the pandemic, Uday Kotak, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank, too opted to forgo his salary and took only ₹ 1 as a token amount in FY22.

Which industry pays the most

The information technology industry rewards its chief executives the best going by our analysis. The average pay of the chiefs of the top 3 IT companies in Nifty 50 - HCL Technologies, Wipro and Infosys – was around ₹93.94 crore, pushing it to the top spot.

It is followed by the metals and mining industry with an average pay of ₹66.94 crore, considering the CEO pays of JSW Steel, Hindalco Industries and Tata Steel. 

Automobile companies come next in the list of generous paymasters. The average pay of the chiefs of Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and Eicher Motors amounted to ₹51.32 crore.

Healthcare, construction materials, financial services, fast moving consumer goods and oil gas and consumer goods industries follow next. 

Public versus private

It is no secret that the public sector pays much lesser compared with the private sector. But the benefits in kind, in the form of residential accommodations, transport and healthcare facilities sometimes make up for the poor payout in the public sector.

Gurdeep Singh the chairman and managing director of NTPC Ltd is the highest paid among the public sector Nifty 50 companies with a pay of ₹1.37 crore in FY22.

The second highest paid head from the public sector is Arun Kumar Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, with an annual pay of ₹1.32 crore.

Alka Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, got remuneration close to ₹96 lakh in FY22 which includes salary, other benefits and perks and performance incentive as some of the components.