India Inc's creamy layer - executive directors and above - rewarded themselves handsomely with a 36 per cent pay rise in 2007-08.
As a result, the crorepati club (those earning more than Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million) annually) saw 219 new entrants, taking the total membership to 596.
The list of crorepati CEOs could be much longer - some HR consultants say it would more than double to between 1,200 and 1,400 people - if one includes senior executives from unlisted companies, including the big international firms, management consultancies and foreign banks, investment bankers, unlisted retail billionaires and sundry others.
Consultants estimate that top salaries in sectors like retail and management consulting would be between Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) and Rs 7 crore (RS 70 million).
Tech Mahindra had the highest number (10) of senior executives drawing a Rs 1 crore-plus salary. Larsen & Toubro and Tata Motors had eight each; Nagarjuna Constructions seven and Aditya Birla Nuvo, Bharat Forge and Indian Hotels six each.
Thirty of the new members in the crorepati club were from newly-listed companies and 53 entered the bracket by switching jobs. The compensation package of 88 CEOs more than doubled over the previous year, although the number of those drawing Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million)-plus salaries was unchanged at 18.
Collectively, these executives from 298 companies took home Rs 1,524 crore (Rs 15.24 billion) from salaries, commissions and perquisites (excluding stock options and deferred pay).
The aggregate net profit of these 298 companies increased by the same level of 34.5 per cent at Rs 121,454 crore (Rs 90,327 crore) in FY08, but employee cost jumped 26 per cent to Rs 76,124 crore (Rs 60,257 crore). The share of director remuneration to net profit has been almost constant in the last four years at 1.09 per cent.
For the second year in a row, Reliance ADAG Group Chairman Anil Ambani has toppled his elder brother, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani as the highest-paid Indian CEO (see table).
|Kaun bana crorepati|
(CEO remuneration in Rs crore)
|Anil Ambani *||Reliance Comm||32.34||48.01|
|Mukesh Ambani||Reliance Ind||30.46||44.02|
|Kalanithi Maran||Sun TV Network||23.26||32.41|
|Kavery Kalanithi||Sun TV Network||23.26||32.41|
|P R R Rajha||Madras Cement||24.78||32.39|
|Kumar Mangalam Birla||Grasim Ind||17.53||20.14|
|Malvinder Mohan Singh||Ranbaxy Lab||6.57||19.58|
|Sunil Bharti Mittal||Bharti Airtel||14.96||19.55|
|Sajjan Jindal||JSW Steel||13.25||16.73|
|Onkar S Kanwar||Apollo Tyres||9.98||15.54|
|*Includes Rs 34.65-crore proposed commission for FY08 by Reliance Comm|
While Mukesh took home a total compensation of Rs 44.02 crore (Rs 30.46 crore in the previous year), Anil is set to get Rs 47.98 crore (Rs 32.34 crore).
The catch is the younger Ambani has so far received Rs 13.2 crore (Rs 132 million) as commissions (his salary was a mere Rs 11 lakh) even though five months have gone by since the end of the last financial year.
That is because the Reliance Communications (RCom) remunerations committee and the board are yet to approve disbursal of the Rs 35-crore (Rs 350 million) commission.
But that's a mere formality, and going by the proportion last year, Anil Ambani's share in the total commission to be paid by RCom will be Rs 34.65 crore (Rs 346.5 million).
The company disbursed the commission for 2006-7 only in the next financial year, and Anil's share in the total commission was Rs 30 lakh. On his part, Mukesh received a commission of Rs 42.75 crore (Rs 427.5 million) and a salary of Rs 1.27 crore (Rs 12.7 million).
While Mukesh Ambani's commission was 0.21 per cent of the combined net profit of his group companies, the amount Anil Ambani received was almost one per cent of his group's net profit of Rs 4,905 crore (Rs 49.05 billion) in FY08.