Kalanithi Maran and Kavery Kalanithi, CMD and MD respectively of the Chennai-headquartered Sun TV Network, continue to be the highest paid executives in the country, a recent study on the pay package of top executives and promoters has found.
The study, commissioned by The Times of India and executed by global executive search firm EMA Partners, listed the top executives in India Inc's million dollar salary club, i.e. those who receive an annual pay package of Rs 6.5 crore which is around a million dollars, in the 2015-16 financial year (FY). This year a total of 61 professionals and 58 promoters made the cut.
The husband-wife duo, who have topped the list for four successive years now, took home a salary of Rs 71.5 crore each, a Rs 10 crore increase from the remuneration they got in the year prior to that.
However, Kavery is among the only two women to have made it to the list of top paid executives in the country- the other being MD of HDFC, Renu Sud Karnad.
According to the Fortune magazine's 2012 list of top 10 most paid business women in India, Kaveri had then an annual salary of Rs 57 crore. However, the salaries of the other women in the list were nothing close to hers.
Peninsula Land chairperson Urvi A Piramal was a distant second with an annual pay package of Rs 7.3 crore. They were followed by Preetha Reddy, MD of Apollo Hospital Enterprises who made Rs 6.9 crore, Vinita Singhania, the MD of JK Laksmi Cement, who had an annual salary of Rs 5.9 crore and Vinita Bali, MD, Britannia Industries with Rs 5.7 crore.
Last year, researchers pointed out 3 key ways female executives lose out to men when it comes to pay in a blog for the New York Fed's Liberty Street Economics.
They noted that "female executives receive a lower share of incentive pay in total compensation than males", their compensation is "less sensitive to firm performance than males" and that "compensation of female executives is more exposed to declines in firm value and less exposed to increases in firm value than males".
The EMA Partners study also found that professional CXOs outnumbered promoter CXOs in the million dollar salary club in the country. This, reported TOI, is a sign that Indian companies are now willing to pay their top professionals generously for their performance.
In 2014-15, the number of professionals on the list was 48, whereas promoters made 52 of the top 100 in the list.
Stating that "this trend is set to continue, K Sudarshan, managing partner, EMA Partners India, told the paper that this was "just the tip of the iceberg" as many highly-paid professionals, who are part of unlisted entities, were not part of the list.
"As Indian family-owned businesses build scale and complexity, their reliance on professionals is only increasing all the time as many of them are now board managed and professionally run with exemplary governance standards comparable to the best in the world," he added.
Some of the names in the top 10 list are A M Naik (Chairman, Larsen & Toubro), Pawan Munjal (CMD, Hero Motocorp), OS Kanwar (Chairman, Apollo Tyres), and the newest entrant Vishal Sikka (CEO & MD, Infosys).