Corporate File

Are our CEOs overpaid?

| Updated on August 29, 2021

Cashing in: Siddhartha Lal, riding into a pay storm   -  BIJOY GHOSH

Despite head honchos taking salary cuts, average leadership salaries remains high

CEO salaries are back under scrutiny, after the shareholders of Eicher recently rejected a proposal for re-appointment of Siddhartha Lal as the company's managing director. They were displeased at the10 per cent salary hike mooted for him. Lal’s salary in FY21 was ₹21.2 crore. Now, a revised pay structure for Lal has been arrived at.

Given the blows dealt by the pandemic, and business upheavals, and also to minimise layoffs, several CEOs have taken paycuts. For instance, according to Tech Mahindra’s annual report, the salary of the CEO, C P Gurnani, in FY21 was ₹22 crore — down 33 per cent from the year before. However, even as some CEOs took cuts, data from several sources shows average compensation of the top layer rose nearly 13 per cent. Some CEOs cashed out on stock options — especially as the markets were on a high, while others were given double digit pay hikes. Analysts were surprised at a conservative firm like HCL Technologies offering its CEO C Vijayakumar nearly $4.38 million (₹32.47 crore) in annual compensation (including variable pay and perks) plus stock options up to 2026 — a big pay leap.

Published on August 29, 2021

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