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Big fat corporate salaries: Thierry Delaporte of Wipro leads the pack in a year battered by COVID-19 –

The pandemic disrupted businesses for the entire FY21, leading to changes in pay packages of not just senior executives but of mid- and junior-level employees as well across sectors. [Representative image: Unsplash]

At the end of a tumultuous year which saw COVID-19 severely disrupting normal business, details of salaries paid to CEOs represent the churn in corporate India’s belly.

While some senior executives from IT and metal companies were handsomely rewarded, based on the company’s performance during FY21, some others from FMCG and hospitality companies saw a cut.

The pandemic disrupted businesses for the entire FY21, leading to changes in pay packages of not just senior executives but of mid- and junior-level employees as well across sectors. Some companies resorted to pay cuts in the first quarter of FY21 itself, only to reverse them by the third quarter when demand returned aggressively.

Thierry Delaporte of Wipro became one the highest paid CEOs in corporate India as per initial data shared by listed entities for FY21. Delaporte, who joined the Bengaluru-based IT company in July 2020, drew a total salary of Rs 64 crore during FY21, making him the highest paid CEO in the IT industry.


Delaporte’s counterpart at Infosys, Salil Parekh, took home Rs 49.7 crore during FY21, an increase of 45 percent compared to Rs 34.3 crore in FY20. More than half of Parekh’s payout for FY21 came from restricted stock units worth Rs 31 crore he exercised during the year.

Infosys president Mohit Joshi followed Parekh, taking home Rs 34.8 crore during FY21, compared to Rs 15.1 crore in FY20. Nandan Nilekani, non-executive and non-independent chairman of Infosys, voluntarily chose not to receive any remuneration.


While Delaporte’s pay package has raised eyebrows, Wipro chairman Rishad Premji, son of Azim Premji, who had foregone his variable pay and profit-linked commission in FY20, saw doubling of salary in FY21. The junior Premji took home a salary of Rs 11.79 crore in FY21, as compared to Rs 5.15 crore in FY20.

Rajesh Gopinathan, MD and CEO of TCS, India’s biggest IT company, saw an increase of 52 percent in salary in FY21 at Rs 20.36 crore, against Rs 13.37 crore in FY20, as per the annual report of TCS.

Due to the pandemic, TCS executives had decided to moderate their remuneration in FY20, which resulted in a 15 percent decline in remuneration for key executives. TCS’ FY21 annual report, therefore, clarified that the FY21 remuneration cannot be compared to FY20.

The salary of HUL chairman and managing director Sanjiv Mehta dipped by 21 percent in FY21, while the remuneration of Nestle managing director Suresh Narayanan climbed 6.3 percent during the same year.

The annual pay package of Mehta, who was the highest paid FMCG executive in 2020, stood at Rs 15.4 crore in FY21, as compared to Rs 19.42 crore in FY20. Narayanan was paid Rs 17.19 crore in annual remuneration in the calendar year 2020, as against Rs 16.17 crore in 2019.

Tata Consumer Products CEO Sunil D’Souza, who joined the company in April 2020, was paid Rs 10.49 crore annual remuneration, compared with Rs 4.3 crore paid to his predecessor Ajay Misra in FY20.

Tata Steel MD TV Narendran also saw an increase in remuneration during FY21. Narendran took home Rs 15.58 crore in remuneration during FY21 as compared to Rs 11.22 crore in FY20.

Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and CEO of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), took a 50 percent cut in his pay during FY21. The company’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, Giridhar Sanjeevi, took a 38 percent cut in salary for the same year.