Infosys co-founder and IT industry icon NR Narayana Murthy has criticised the huge pay hike given to the company’s Chief Operating Officer UB Pravin Rao.

In an email, Murthy said: “Giving nearly 60 per cent to 70 per cent increase in compensation for a top-level person (even including performance-based variable pay) when the compensation for most of the employees in the company was increased by just 6 per cent to 8 per cent is, in my opinion, not proper.”

In a BSE listing, Infosys said its shareholders had approved the new articles of association, as well as higher compensation to Pravin Rao. However, only 24 per cent of the promoters, as well as the promoter group, approved the new resolutions, while the rest abstained.

Murthy went on to add “This is grossly unfair to the majority of the Infosys employees... who are toiling hard to make the company better.”

Rao’s new compensation package includes ₹4.62 crore in fixed pay and ₹3.88 crore as variable compensation per annum. He will also receive 27,250 restricted stock units and 43,000 stock options vested over four years. The stock options are based on his performance in fiscal 2016.

Murthy, as well as two former CFOs of the company, had earlier raised issues of corporate governance followed by the current board.

Murthy said he had recruited Rao in 1985 and had nurtured him. “He had been sidelined. He was not even a member of the Executive Council at Infosys in 2013 when I came back. Kris, Shibu and I encouraged him, elevated him to the board, and made him the COO when we recruited Vishal (Sikka) as the CEO. So, this abstention has nothing to do with Pravin.”

“Those of us who have always stood for fairness in compensation and practised it, right from the day Infosys was founded, will have to demonstrate it when needed.”