Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries’ ‘message’ to staff: Shape up or ship out

Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries’ ‘message’ to staff: Shape up or ship outCognizant CEO Brian Humphries’ ‘message’ to staff: Shape up or ship outShilpa Phadnis Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries is sending out a strong message – shape up or ship out. In the very first month of his taking over as CEO, he has made two major leadership changes, clearly an attempt to revive the company’s struggling growth engine. | TNN | Updated: May 4, 2019, 03:18PM ISTBENGALURU: Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries is sending out a strong message – shape up or ship out. In the very first month of his taking over as CEO, he has made two major leadership changes, clearly an attempt to revive the company’s struggling growth engine.

Malcolm Frank, who was chief strategy officer, replaces 16-year company veteran Gajen Kandiah as president of Cognizant Digital Business (CDB), the division that oversees the digital services portfolio. Kandiah led the business for the past three years. “Malcolm brings a strategic mind, deep understanding of the digital economy, significant customer centricity and a partner mentality to this critical position. Digital business is at the forefront of our company’s pivot to digital and strengthens our identity as a digital innovator,” Humphries wrote in an email to employees.

Prasad Chintamaneni, EVP and president of global industries and consulting, is taking charge of the banking & financial services business on an interim basis in addition to his existing responsibilities. Chintamaneni, in some sense, replaces Sriniketh Chakravarthi who led Cognizant’s North America BFS business. Cognizant’s BFS juggernaut has hit a major speedbreaker, with many deal ramp downs, customer specific issues, and insourcing. BFS,which accounts for 35% of revenue, degrew by 1.7% in the January-March quarter.

Humphries said it’s time to get back to the basics, strengthen execution. “How? By staying focused on our clients, meeting all our commitments, managing costs rigorously as we focus on growth and bringing our winning spirit to work every day,” Humphries wrote in the email.

Delivery, he said, is a prized asset and a valued competitive advantage, “but we must make our delivery more efficient to fuel investments in growth.” That was clearly a message to the Indian operations, because much of the company’s delivery happens out of India.

Phil Fersht, CEO of consulting firm HfS Research, said the new CEO “is hell-bent on taking a scalpel to the firm and forcing a shock and awe change scenario.” He said it’s too early to know what the impact of this disruption would be, “but the hard works starts now and needs to show rapid results. “

Humphries said it is critical to keep in mind the relationship between top-line momentum and a healthy cost structure. “I call this being fit for growth. A cost structure is healthy when it is aligned to the strategy and deployed to the businesses and market opportunities to compete effectively and drive growth. By establishing a healthier cost structure at Cognizant, we will be able to make further investments in growth and create more value for our clients, whether that’s in reskilling, expanding our sales coverage, raising our marketing spend, or increasing targeted investments in platforms, tools and automation. In short, I believe cost equals growth. They are not mutually exclusive,” he said.

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