Cognizant CEO rated higher than Larry Page, Tim Cook in global survey

Francisco D’Souza has sixth highest approval ratings, according to a global survey of employees by Glassdoor
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First Published: Mon, Mar 18 2013. 10 41 PM IST

Updated: Tue, Mar 19 2013. 01 31 AM IST
New Delhi/Bangalore: Chief executive officers (CEOs) of four Indian software service companies featured in an employee survey by Glassdoor, a jobs and companies community website.
Cognizant Technology Solution Corp.’s Francisco (Frank) D’Souza, Tata Consultancy Service Ltd’s Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Mindtree Ltd’s Krishnakumar Natarajan and Wipro Ltd’s T.K. Kurien all made it to the list of top 50 CEOs as rated by their employees.
The five highest rated CEOs for 2013, according to the report, are Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg, SAP AG co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe (all three with 99% approval), McKinsey and Co.’s Dominic Barton (97%), Ernst and Young LLP’s Jim Turley, and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s John E. Schlifske (both with a 96% approval).
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While D’Souza, at sixth place on the list with a 96% approval rating, beat fellow tech CEOs such as Google’s Larry Page (95%) and Apple’s Tim Cook (93%), Natarajan and Kurien were among the CEOs whose approval rose most sharply over the last year. Natarajan saw his approval rating climb 21 percentage points from last year to 90% (28th place), and Kurien’s increased 19 percentage points to 82% (44th place). Kurien, who heads the IT business of Wipro, is trying to lead a turnaround of the former star of the sector.
The survey asked employees to state whether they approved of the way their CEO leads the company and, while the number of respondents varied per company, more than half a million reviews were submitted to Glassdoor over the past 12 months. According to its website, rating and rank in the list was determined using the average approval rating a CEO received between 25 February 2012 and 24 February 2013.
“The CEOs who are most successful in gaining employee approval are those who paint a clear vision of what the company is setting out to achieve and how it’s going to get there,” said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor CEO and co-founder, in a media release. “To be recognized by your employees as a strong leader also comes as a result of having a solid company culture that helps employees foster the skills necessary to move business forward and meet the needs of customers.”
The rankings of the top executives of the Indian software exporters largely reflected company performance.
Cognizant and TCS, widely seen as the new flag bearers of the Indian IT services sector, have consistently beaten estimates set by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) lobby group over the past two years and outstripped the likes of former sector bellwether and India’s second-largest software exporter Infosys and Wipro.
TCS, which had 263,637 employees on its rolls at the end of calendar year 2012, had an attrition rate of about 10% in its IT business, below the industry average of 15-25%. Cognizant, which employs most of its 156,700 employees in India, had an attrition rate of 10.7% in the final quarter of the year.
Cognizant has also not missed its quarterly guidance in the last decade. It has always outperformed this unlike its Indian peers who have seen a string of misses in both constant currency and reported currency. It is also the only consulting and IT services company to give both full-year guidance and quarterly guidance, apart from Accenture, which provides it in local currency.
Last week, Cognizant said it would pay 80-100% bonuses to most of its employees, while top performers in the company would receive bonuses in the range of 120-145%. The company has forecast revenue growth of 17% for 2013, ahead of Nasscom’s expectations of 12-14% growth in exports for FY14.
For the quarter ended 31 December, both TCS and Cognizant posted better-than-expected results and forecast robust near-term revenue growth.
India’s third-largest software services exporter Wipro Ltd, on the other hand, had a relatively modest quarter in comparison, posting a drop in volumes, despite results being ahead of markets expectations.
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First Published: Mon, Mar 18 2013. 10 41 PM IST
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