Sun TV promoter Kalanithi Maran and his wife Kavery Kalanithi, the highest paid executives in India, have taken home close to ₹1,500 crore in managerial remunerations over the last decade. Data compiled from the company’s annual report show that the Maran family’s managerial remuneration between FY12 and FY21 was ₹1,470 crore. The remuneration includes salary, perquisites, other allowances and ex-gratia/bonus.

In FY21, Kalanithi Maran, who is the Executive Chairman of Sun TV Group, took ₹87.50 crore, while Kavery Kalanithi also took an equal amount as the Executive Director. Kaviya Kalanithi Maran, their daughter, who was appointed as a Director and an Executive Director with effect from April 1, 2019, received ₹1.09 crore in managerial remuneration.

Senior Marans’ remuneration is far higher than other top executives of India Inc. For instance, L&T Group MD & CEO, SN Subrahmanyan, took home ₹28.50 crore in remuneration in FY21, while CP Gurnani, CEO and MD of Tech Mahindra, received ₹22 crore last fiscal. Infosys CEO Salil Parekh earned ₹49 crore, while TCS Chief Rajesh Gopinanthan earned more than ₹20 crore. India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani drew ‘nil’ salary as he voluntarily gave up remuneration in light of the pandemic hitting the business and the economy.

In the annual general meeting held last week, an overwhelming majority of institutional shareholders (86.3 per cent) of Sun TV Network voted against the proposals to reappoint Kalanithi Maran as the Executive Chairman and his wife Kavery Kalanithi as an Executive Director for a period of five years with a 25 per cent increase in remuneration.

However, that did not prevent the resolutions from being approved as the family holds 75 per cent stake in the company. Institutional investor stake is just around 12 per cent. Mumbai-based proxy advisory firm Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IIAS) recommended voting against both the resolutions.

“Unfortunately, once the resolution is passed, it is passed and there is very little recourse that investors have. Our belief is that at least compensation resolutions should be put to the majority of minority investors to vote, which means people who are paying themselves do not have any vote on it. That’s how we think this thing should move going forward.” said Amit Tandon, founder and MD, IiAS.

This is not the first time a resolution on remuneration has been opposed by institutional shareholders. “We have been consistently opposing this with respect to Marans,” he added. But that has had very little impact. Marans’ salary has risen from ₹57.01 crore each in FY12 to ₹87.50 crore each in FY21.