India’s richest man wins govt praise for pay cut

NEW DELHI, October 17, 2009 (AFP) – India’s government has praised a decision by India’s richest businessman Mukesh Ambani to take a 66 percent pay cut after it called for firms to avoid “vulgar” executive salaries, a report said Saturday. The minister’s call to rein in executive pay came amid pressure from governments around the world on companies in their countries to clamp down on remuneration in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Ambani is the seventh richest man in the world according to the 2009 Forbes list with a net worth of 19.5 billion dollars. The government said the decision by the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chief and the world’s seventh richest man to accept a lower remuneration package displayed “remarkable sensibility to the prevailing thought process” in India.

“What Mukesh Ambani has done is laudable,” Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters Friday, according to the Press Trust of India.

The two-thirds pay cut means Ambani will now receive 150 million rupees a year (3.2 million dollars) in wages along with a share of the profits of Reliance Industries Ltd, or RIL, the country’s biggest private sector company.

Before the announcement, Ambani would have taken home 440 milli