In India’s electronics industry dominated by global brands, it’s the Indian chief executives who are raking in the moolah as compared to the expats.

As per the regulatory filings from more than a dozen large electronics companies for fiscal 2023, the remunerations of Indian chief executives working in domestic and multinational companies were higher than the expat heads. For instance, Indian CEOs at Sony, Blue Star and Crompton Greaves took home more money than their foreign counterparts at the local units of Samsung, LG and Vivo that had a much larger scale of business.

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Industry executives attributed this trend to more companies betting on localising their senior management and being ready to pay a premium to such executives. Also, the hardship allowance that foreign executives used to get for India posting has become history, affecting their total pay.

Executive search and talent advisory firm ABC Consultants managing director Shiv Agrawal said the India posting for expats is now seen more as an opportunity for their future growth, hence salary components like hardship allowance are not part of the package anymore.

“Further, the Indian senior management talent pool has increased. There is a growing realisation that it’s better to have local talent at the helm for better understanding of the Indian market and companies are ready to pay a premium for it. The fact of expat compensation far more than Indians has broken,” said Agrawal.

Home grown Blue Star’s managing director, B Thiagarajan, took Rs 8.12 crore, including a commission of Rs 4.12 crore, in FY23. Sony India managing director Sunil Nayyar’s remuneration was Rs 6.8 crore while the company’s deputy MD Tomohiro Nakashima drew Rs 2.6 crore.

Whirlpool India MD Vishal Bhola, who resigned in April 2023, got Rs 5.31 crore in the year ended March 2023, including employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) worth Rs 2.47 crore from parent Whirlpool Corp.

Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals’ Shantanu Khosla, who was its MD till April 2023 and thereafter executive vice-chairman, took a salary of Rs 4.32 crore, variable pay of Rs 5.43 crore and ESOPs of Rs 15.08 crore. The remuneration of Mathew Job, its CEO till April, was Rs 7.3 crore comprising salary and variable pay. Including ESOPs of Rs 33.3 crore, he drew more than Rs 40 crore.

Among expat-led companies, Samsung India managing director JB Park’s remuneration was Rs 5.42 crore in FY23 while Vivo India’s MD Zhiyong Chen drew Rs 3.67 crore. In LG India, five expat directors including the MD drew packages between Rs 2.5 crore and Rs 3.8 crore. Samsung too had five expat directors earning over a crore rupees, including the MD.

Industry veteran Ravinder Zutshi, who was the first Indian employee at Samsung and retired as its deputy MD, said global companies used to pay high compensation initially since they wanted to build the business.

“But now these are brands in themselves. There has been a salary correction in foreign companies in the last few years whereas more Indian companies are now paying more to get seasoned talent to achieve their ambitions,” he said.

The size of the business had no role in CEO compensation.

Samsung India’s revenue in FY23 was Rs 98,924 crore while that of Vivo India was Rs 29,874 crore and LG India, Rs 20,112 crore. In contrast, the sales of Sony India were Rs 6,353 crore, Blue Star were Rs 7,353 crore, Whirlpool India were Rs 6,210 crore and Crompton Greaves were Rs 5,809 crore.

Startups like Imagine Marketing Ltd, the Rs 3,284 crore company which owns the Boat brand, have matched salaries of directors with that of the biggies. Vivek Gambhir, who was the CEO of Imagine Marketing till mid-March 2023, drew a remuneration of Rs 2.95 crore, higher than founders Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta who got Rs 2.5 crore each. Of course, the founders hold shares of the company.

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