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BENGALURU: Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. is strengthening its leadership team with a mix of internal promotions and external hires in a bid to return to growth.

"We are focused on returning Cognizant to IT services industry bellwether status. To achieve this, we need a combination of long-time Cognizant veterans along with newcomers who bring fresh perspectives to our business," Brian Humphries, CEO, Cognizant said in an interview.

Cognizant has invested in growth by strengthening its leadership with senior hires in Germany, the Nordics, Australia, and Asia-Pacific & Japan.

Last week, the New Jersey-based company appointed Rajesh Nambiar as chairman and managing director (CMD) for India and a member of the executive committee, effective 9 November. Nambiar’s induction into the committee is seen as a measured approach to increase focus on India and thrusting more power into the hands of the India CMD. His predecessor Ramkumar Ramamoorthy who left the company in July was not part of the committee but reported to it.

Among other leadership changes, Ursula Morgenstern will join as president, Global Growth Markets, effective January 2021 while Adrian Jones will soon join as managing director for Asia Pacific & Japan.

Cognizant also recently appointed Anil Cheriyan as executive vice president, Strategy and Technology, and Andy Stafford as the head of global delivery. All of them are also members of the EC, directly reporting to Humphries.

“We are making bold moves to supercharge our talent and have invested considerable time and thought over the past 18 months in building and nurturing our executive committee. The team now in place can drive a company of Cognizant’s scale and complexity to higher levels of growth in our intensely competitive technology services industry," Humphries said.

As a measure to retain and reward high performers, Cognizant is implementing a targeted merit-based increment and promotion structure in the December quarter. “We are accruing 2020 bonuses at higher levels than 2019," Humphries said.

Cognizant has started this year’s campus hiring in October and nearly doubled its entry-level salary for engineers graduating in June 2021 with premium technology skills.

“The emphasis will be on hiring new talent in our digital battlegrounds as well as in other strategic areas such as cyber security, Salesforce, and business modernisation technologies. That said, we will continue to enforce meritocracy and upgrade our talent," Humphries said.

Last week, Cognizant reported flat annual growth in revenues at $4.2 billion for the third quarter ended September. However, the company’s digital revenue grew 13% y-o-y and contributed 42% to the total revenues for the September quarter as digital bookings continued to show momentum. “We are well on our way in the journey towards 50% digital revenues," Humphries said.

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