Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza’s pay falls 31% in 2016 as growth slows

Due to the poor show by Cognizant, CEO Francisco D’Souza took home $8.26 million, against $11.95 million in 2015.


Cognizant’s 8.6% growth in 2016 paled in comparison with the 21% growth it posted in 2015, underlining a broader slowdown in the IT industry. Photo:  Mint
Cognizant’s 8.6% growth in 2016 paled in comparison with the 21% growth it posted in 2015, underlining a broader slowdown in the IT industry. Photo: Mint

Bengaluru: Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp.’s growth of 8.6% in calendar year 2016, the slowest in the history of the Nasdaq-listed company, hurt its senior management ranks, including chief executive officer Francisco D’Souza, whose compensation last year fell by a sharp 31%. D’Souza took home $8.26 million, against $11.95 million in 2015.

Cognizant’s subdued performance last year—along with the company moving the grant of restricted stock units (RSU) to its senior management from the fourth quarter of last year to the first quarter of this calendar year—further hit the earnings of other senior management members, including president Rajeev Mehta and chief financial officer Karen McLoughlin.

Mehta and McLoughlin saw their compensation drop by 30.5% and 30% respectively last year, as compared to 2015, according to filings made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Cognizant’s 8.6% growth in 2016 paled in comparison with the 21% growth it posted in 2015, underlining a broader slowdown witnessed by technology outsourcing companies, which are battling to keep themselves relevant.

Newer technologies like cloud computing and data analytics are making the largest Fortune 1000 companies, across industries, cut reliance on traditional solutions offered under application development and maintenance by technology outsourcers.

For this reason, chief executives are seeing a fall in their compensation. Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys Ltd, saw his compensation for 2016-17 decline 8.1% to $6.8 million from $7.4 million earned in 2015-16, after the firm’s growth slipped to 7.4%, compared to 9.1% in 2015-16.

D’Souza, son of an Indian diplomat, has been at the helm of Cognizant for over a decade.

Since he took over as CEO in January 2007, Cognizant has grown from a $1.4 billion company to end last year with $13.5 billion in revenue, overtaking both Infosys and Wipro Ltd.

Starting in 2010, Cognizant added over $1 billion in new revenue or incremental revenue every year for seven straight years, a feat only matched by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

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