Home >Companies >People >Cognizant sees a spate of senior-level exits

In two top-level exits, Cognizant India chairman and managing director Ramkumar Ramamoorthy and head of global delivery Pradeep Shilige have resigned after spending over two decades at the software services company.

The exits were announced on Thursday by Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. chief executive Brian Humphries in an email to employees.

The departures of Ramamoorthy, who was elevated as chairman and managing director of Cognizant India in September, and Shilige are the latest in a series of senior-level exits after Brian Humphries took charge last year as CEO of Cognizant.

In recent months, several senior vice-presidents (SVPs) and vice-presidents (VPs) have resigned. They include three SVPs Jaideep Poondir, Rajesh Balaji and Vinayambika Kidiyur, and VPs Archana Ramanakumar and Vikash Gaur.

A Cognizant spokesperson, confirming the exits, said some of those who are leaving may be on their notice period or may have delayed their departure to support the organization during the covid crisis.

Humphries, in his mail to employees, said Ramamoorthy has decided to retire from Cognizant effective 17 July.

“I would like to thank Ramkumar for his successful tenure here, for his many contributions over the years, and for being a passionate brand ambassador of Cognizant with our multiple external stakeholders. We are particularly grateful for Ramkumar’s leadership role during the pandemic, where he ensured associate health and safety and effectuated the transition to work from home," Humphries wrote.

He also named Andy Stafford, who has been with Accenture for nearly two decades, as the new head of global delivery.

He said Shilige is leaving to spend more time with his family and pursue his next challenge, and that he will be with Cognizant until 30 September to ensure a smooth handover to Stafford.

Ramamoorthy, who rose from the ranks to become chairman, wrote in a LinkedIn post that he now wants to focus on education, skilling and mentoring entrepreneurs.

“For more than 22 years, Cognizant was the world to me. All of you made that world so beautiful that I was eternally in awe of it. I cannot thank you enough for that. In the past few months, I felt a strong desire to double down on my abiding passion (also my first calling!)—education, skilling and mentoring entrepreneurs. I am all set to explore that world again from July 17," he wrote in the post.

The news of the exits comes at a time when the company has laid off thousands of workers, who were on the bench, in India. India is Cognizant’s largest employee hub, accounting for more than 200,000 of its global headcount of nearly 290,000.

Cognizant, which didn’t confirm the number of layoffs, had said they are likely to be performance-based exits.

Cognizant had made some leadership changes last year, in a bid to restructure the organization, after Humphries came in as CEO.

Mint reported in May that Cognizant has decided to postpone the joining dates of all campus recruits from India to the second half of 2020 due to the pandemic, but has assured the students that it will honour the offers it has made. The company had also said that it would freeze most of its lateral hiring across functions, with a few exceptions in sales, given the subdued demand environment.

“While you continue to deliver amazing work for our clients despite covid-19, this pandemic has underscored our need to become a more global company. Globalizing Cognizant goes beyond our geographic revenue mix, the number of countries we operate in, the diversity of backgrounds and locations of our leadership teams, or how well known our brand is around the world. It also requires us to have a global delivery network that is robust and resilient enough to ensure continuity of service for clients no matter what’s happening in the world," Humphries said on Thursday.

“We will continue to move forward with our sales hiring plan and other key positions and honour all accepted offers."

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