Richest Indian Mukesh Ambani has kept his annual salary from his flagship firm Reliance Industries capped at Rs 15 crore for 12th year on the trot in the fiscal ended March 31 and has thereafter decided to forego the entire remuneration in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ambani has kept salary, perquisites, allowances and commission together at Rs 15 crore since 2008-09, forgoing over Rs 24 crore per annum. This is at a time when remunerations of all whole-time directors of the company, including cousins Nikhil and Hital Meswani, saw a handsome increase in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.
"In light of the Covid-19 outbreak in India, which has exacted a huge toll on the societal, economic and industrial health of the nation, Mukesh D. Ambani, the Chairman and Managing Director, has voluntarily decided to forego his salary," the company said in its latest annual report.
The Board of Directors noted his decision to forego salary until the impact of Covid-19 abates, it said Ambani decided to forego his remuneration at end-April when the company decided to cut the salary of most of its employees by 10-50 per cent. "The Chairman and Managing Director had his salary capped at Rs 15 crore since 2008-09 in order to set a personal example of moderation in managerial compensation levels. And now, he isforgoing his salary until the company and all its businesses are fully back to their earnings potential," the company said in the annual report for 2019-20.
On a similar note, other executive directors have also expressed their decision to draw remuneration up to 50 per cent of their remuneration entitlement, it said. Ambani's remuneration for 2019-20 included Rs 4.36 crore as salary and allowances, which is marginally lower than Rs 4.45 crore he got in the previous 2018-19 fiscal.
Commission has been unchanged at Rs 9.53 crore while perquisites have risen to Rs 40 lakh from Rs 31 lakh. Retirement benefits were Rs 71 lakh. Ambani's cousins Nikhil R Meswani and Hital R Meswani saw their compensation rise to Rs 24 crore each from Rs 20.57 crore a year back. They earned Rs 19.99 crore each in 2017-18 and Rs 16.58 crore in 2016-17. In 2015-16, Nikhil had got Rs 14.42 crore while Hital took home Rs 14.41 crore. In 2014-15, they had got Rs 12.03 crore each.
Also, one of his key executives, Executive Director P M S Prasad saw his remuneration go up to Rs 11.15 crore from Rs 10.01 crore in the previous year. He too has seen his remuneration rise steadily -- from Rs 6.03 crore in 2014-15, to Rs 7.23 crore in the next fiscal, Rs 7.87 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 8.99 crore in the year thereafter.
Refinery chief Pawan Kumar Kapil saw his compensation fall to Rs 4.04 crore from Rs 4.17 crore. RIL's non-executive directors, including Nita Ambani, got Rs 1.15 crore each as commission, besides sitting fees. The commission is lower than Rs 1.65 crore paid in the previous fiscal. The commission was Rs 1.5 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 1.3 crore in the year prior to that.
Ambani's wife Nita Ambani, a non-executive director on the company's board, earned Rs 7 lakh as sitting fee, unchanged from the previous year. Apart from Ambani, the RIL board has Meswani brothers, Prasad and Kapil as wholetime directors.
Besides Nita Ambani, other non-executive directors include Mansingh L Bhakta, Yogendra P Trivedi, Dipak C Jain, Raghunath A Mashelkar, Adil Zainulbhai, Raminder Singh Gujral, Shumeet Banerji and former SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya. Bhakta ceased to be a director in August last year and was replaced by former CVC K V Chowdary.