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Premji takes pay cut, hike for others

May 21, 2009 18:24 IST
As the global economic downturn takes toll on pay packets, Indian IT major Wipro's chief Azim Premji seems to be leading by example as he has taken a cut of about 10 per cent in his annual compensation.

The total remuneration paid to Premji dipped by $32,414 (about Rs 14 lakh) in the fiscal year 2008-09 to $2,96,142 (about Rs 1.37 crore).

India's third largest IT exporter, listed at New York Stock Exchange, had paid a total remuneration of $ 3,28,556 to its chairman in the previous fiscal.

However, the company has paid higher remuneration to many of its other executive directors and senior management personnel in 2008-09, according to its annual report filing with the US market regulator SEC. The compensation paid to the non-executive directors also increased.

For its non-employee directors, Wipro said, the attendance fee was raised to Rs 20,000 per meeting with effect from August 1, 2008, from Rs 10,000 previously. Besides, the company paid a total of Rs 1.46 crore (Rs 14.6 million) as commission to them in 2008-09, up from about Rs 86.02 lakh in the previous year.

The pay package for executive directors like Suresh Senapaty, Pratik Kumar, Suresh Vaswani and Girish S Paranjape also rose in 2008-09.  Another Indian IT firm Infosys' top brass, including its directors and senior-most management personnel, also got a collective hike of over Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) in their pay packets during last fiscal.

The collective remuneration of all the board members and top management personnel rose by Rs 10.28 crore (Rs 102.8 million) to Rs 29.16 crore (Rs 291.6 million) in the fiscal 2008-08, as per the auditors' report to Infosys board on the consolidated financial statements of the company and its subsidiaries.

A number of companies in the country, particularly from the IT space, have either cut down or frozen the salaries of their employees, as their bottom lines and revenue have been hit hard by the global economic downturn.

According to Wipro's SEC filing, Premji was paid $84,729 as salary and allowances in 2008-09, down from $107,701 in the previous fiscal. Besides, he also got a lower amount of $105,710 as commission/incentives in the latest fiscal, compared to $127,621 in 2007-08. The other components of the pay package include housing perquisites, deferred long-term compensation and other benefits.

Wipro's chief financial officer Suresh Senapaty, however, got a total payout of $408,246 in 2008-09, up from $317,751 in 2007-08. Similarly, the package of Pratik Kumar, executive vice-president (HR) rose from $230,507 to $290,201.

Suresh Vaswani's package also rose to $420,607 from $315,013, while that of Girish Paranjape increased from $292,324  to $398,652. Both Vaswani and Paranjape are joint CEOs of IT business.

However, the remuneration for Vineet Agrawal, President, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, fell to $281,081 from $304,915 in 2007-08.

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