Infosys has raised CEO Salil Parekh's compensation by a massive 88% to Rs 79.8 crore (more than $10 million), a reward for the industry-leading performance of the company and the phenomenal increase in shareholder value during his tenure.
The revision comes alongside the extension of Parekh's tenure by five years. Most of the increase is in performance-based rewards (cash and stocks). This has risen by 110%, to Rs 68.8 crore. Fixed compensation has risen by 13% to Rs 11 crore.
The company's annual report for 2021-22, which has just been released, said the overhaul in CEO compensation was undertaken also to benchmark it with those of peers like Accenture, IBM, TCS, Capgemini, Cognizant, DXC, and others.
Accenture CEO Julie Sweet took a paycheque of $23 million, mostly in stock awards, in 2021, and IBM's Arvind Krishna got $17.5 million as overall compensation in the same year. Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries' compensation rose 42.5% to $19.6 million in 2021, while TCS CEO Rajesh Gopinathan's total compensation in the last fiscal rose by about 28% to Rs 25.8 crore. The company said Parekh's compensation is now around the median compensation for peers.
Infosys noted that under Parekh’s leadership (January 2, 2018, to March 31, 2022), Infosys’s total shareholder return (TSR) was 314%, the highest among peers. "And was well above the TSR of benchmark indices of Nifty at 77% and S&P 500 at 117%. The company’s market capitalisation increased during his tenure by about Rs 5,77,000 crore ($69 billion). In comparison, during the preceding four-year period, prior to the appointment of Salil, the company’s TSR was 30% as compared to the peers’ median TSR of 47%, "it said.
The remuneration committee also considered that Parekh is not a first-time CEO and MD, as he was at the time of his initial appointment in 2018. "Salil is the CEO of Infosys, a globally listed entity, and has demonstrated successful business and overall performance since his appointment. The company competes with global peers, particularly in North America and Europe, with almost 87% of the company’s revenue coming from these geographies, and therefore, Salil’s remuneration has to be determined keeping in view international benchmarks. "Salil's proposed total target remuneration vis-a-vis the remuneration most recently paid to CEOs of the peers (based on publicly available information as analysed by the company’s external advisors Egon Zehnder) would be around the median," the annual report said.
In 2021-22, Parekh drew Rs 71 crore as compensation, mostly due to stock incentives awarded in previous years.
The median remuneration (MRE) of Infosys employees was Rs 8.1 lakh in FY 2022, an increase of 12.9% from Rs 7.2 lakh in FY 2021. The ratio of Parekh's salary to MRE rose sharply to 872.
The Infosys board has also recommended the reappointment of its non-executive chairman, Nandan Nilekani.
In a letter to shareholders, Nilekani said the future – full of uncertainties – is not something that anyone can claim to predict. "Rising interest rates, the situation in Ukraine, the lingering impact of COVID in many parts of the world, the disruption of supply chains, all accompanied by mounting costs and increased volatility, are confronting corporate leaders with complexities and challenges that are only just being understood." At the same time, digital acceleration is creating tremendous new opportunities for differentiation and gaining market leadership, "he said.
Parekh said the demand outlook remains strong, but the company needs to be vigilant about macroeconomic trends.