It has been a good year for executives leading top companies on the Fortune India 500 list for 2018. The total remuneration of the 50 highest paid executives on the list for 2017-18 went up by `618.8 crore, roughly 50% mo ore than 2016-17. So who were the big earners?
Tech Mahindra, continued to hold on to the top spot despite a 3% drop in his remuneration from the previous year. A.M. Naik of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) made the biggest gain, in absolute terms, to finish a close second. His annual remuneration in FY18 grew ₹61 crore—nearly 10% of the total increase in remuneration of the top 50 highest paid executives. The flamboyant Naik, 76, who retired in 2017, is the chairman of the group. Just like last year, his remuneration in FY18 was also boosted by post-retirement benefits. He also benefitted from an improvement in the performance of L&T which reported a 22% year-on-year increase in net profit in FY18.
Besides Naik, the other big gainers in terms of remuneration were the chairman and directors of Eicher Motors. The maker of the iconic Royal Enfield motorcycles has been in somewhat of a purple patch in recent years having more than tripled its net profit since FY14. The company’s chairman, Srinivasan Sandilya, jumped to the No. 6 spot on the list of the highest-paid executives, as his remuneration increased to ₹56.54 crore in FY18 from ₹0.58 crore in the previous year.
Sandilya’s colleague on the board of Eicher Motors, Prateek Jalan, an independent director of the company, also saw a large spike in his remuneration to ₹25.68 crore from ₹0.33 crore in the previous year. Jalan was also the highest paid independent director in FY18 amongst the Fortune India 500 list of companies.
Another key executive who witnessed an impressive increase in his remuneration was Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director of JSW Steel. Jindal, the promoter of one of India’s largest steelmakers, tripled his FY17 earnings to ₹49.51 crore in FY18. Jindal has led his company to become an investors’ darling; in 2018, it could be the only stock from the S&P BSE Metal index to finish in the green despite the index losing nearly a quarter of its value during the year.
So, will the upcoming appraisal season be as good as FY18 for corporate India’s top executives? The answer to that question will only be known much later in 2019.
For the complete Fortune India 500 list, click here