Former Wipro CEO Delaporte earned $20 million in last year at helm

FILE PHOTO: Wipro CEO Thierry Delaporte speaks during a press conference announcing the company's quarterly results in Bengaluru, India, January 12, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's No.4 IT services firm Wipro paid $20.1 million in annual compensation to former CEO Thierry Delaporte who resigned in April, well before his five-year term was set to end in July 2025.

The Frenchman's compensation included $3.9 million in salary and allowances, about $5.1 million in variable pay, the cost of accelerated vesting of his stock options and cash compensation of $4.3 million, the company revealed in its annual report on Thursday.

Wipro said the cash payment was "to enable a smooth transition, ensure business continuity and to ensure adherence to post-engagement obligations" such as maintaining confidentiality and avoiding making derogatory comments about the company.

"The company would have taken into consideration the French employment laws which are vastly different than American and Indian employment laws and sided towards employees," Shriram Subramanian, the founder of proxy advisory firm InGovern Research, said.

"The compensation seems to be comparable to other outside CEOs of large IT services companies."

Delaporte was the highest-paid Indian IT CEO in fiscal 2023. During his tenure, Wipro changed its operating model twice in three years, struggled to bag large deals and witnessed several top-level departures.

"Higher CEO salaries is a global phenomena in all companies," Pareekh Jain, the founder of IT research firm EIIR Trend, said. "These CEOs are also not sitting in India, you have to give them global salaries, and attract by giving more than what they could have gotten in another company."

Delaporte's exit was the latest in a series of management changes at top Indian IT companies.

Former Tata Consultancy Services CEO Rajesh Gopinathan resigned in March 2023 and got 480 million Indian rupees ($5.77 million) in post-employment benefits. Cognizant paid about $6.5 million to former CEO Brian Humphries, whose employment was terminated involuntarily in 2023.

(Reporting by Haripriya Suresh; Editing by Dhanya Skariachan and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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