Bangalore : Senior executives at Infosys Technologies Ltd saw their salaries rise at a much faster rate than those at Wipro Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) in 2007-08, a year when a rising rupee and a then-emerging credit crisis in the US slowed the march of Indian information technology (IT) firms.
(CHEQUE LIST) The salaries of the top three non-promoter executives at Infosys increased by 49% in 2007-08 compared with 25% in 2006-07. The comparable figures for the top five executives at TCS was 19% and the top five at Wipro, 18%.
Infosys’ senior-most non-promoter executives, T.V. Mohandas Pai and Srinath Batni, both directors on the company’s board, saw their salaries rise by almost 100% and 71%, to Rs1.8 crore and Rs1.27 crore, respectively. These gro-wth rates, however, were more the exception than the norm.
In Wipro’s case, chief financial officer Suresh Senapaty saw his salary rise by 20% to $317,751 (he received a 37% hike the previous year); chief operating officer A.L. Rao’s compensation grew by 1% to $236,619 against 23% last year; co-CEO Girish Paranjpe’s package grew by 19% (30% last year) to $292,324; and co-CEO Suresh Vaswani’s by 32% (25% last year) to $315,013. Wipro has disclosed executive salaries in dollar terms in its filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission of the US and is yet to come out with its annual report for Indian shareholders.
At TCS, CEO S. Ramadorai, the highest paid executive in the firm, saw his salary grow a mere 3% to Rs2.65 crore (it had grown by 20% in 2006-07). Chief operating officer and executive director N. Chandrasekaran’s compensation grew 31% to Rs1.33 crore. The salaries of chief financial officer S. Mahalingam and executive director and head, global corporate affairs, P.A. Vandrevala grew by 31% and 17%, respectively, (they had risen by 39% and 52% in 2006-07) to Rs1.31 crore and Rs1.04 crore.
Justifying the better hikes for non-promoter directors such as Pai and Batni at Infosys’ 27th AGM last week, the company’s chairman and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy said the promoters, who had other streams of income such as dividends, had voluntarily restricted their salaries without coming in the way of other directors. However, while Murthy did not receive any salary in 2007-08, co-chairman Nandan Nilekani saw a 55% increase in his salary to Rs82 lakh and CEO S. Gopalakri-shnan, a 50% increase to Rs81 lakh. Chief operating officer S.D. Shibulal took home a raise of 70% (a salary of Rs78 lakh). Murthy, Nilekani, Gopalakris-hnan and Shibulal are all promoters of the company.
The gross remuneration for top executives at these companies typically consists of salary, perquisites and performance-linked incentives, besides contribution to provident fund and other allowances such as housing.
While there is no clear trend that emerges from the salary details of senior IT executives (culled from their respective annual reports which have just been released, except in the case of Wipro), one expert said the trend was towards lower increases and more variable pay. “Flattening of executive salaries is linked to the current market conditions and the emphasis is more towards variable pay structure,” said Priya Chetty Rajagopal, vice-president, StantonChase International, a head-hunting firm.