CEO Francisco D'Souza hands over to Brian Humphries at Cognizant

03 April 2019 4 min. read
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Brian Humphries has taken the helm at ICT consultancy Cognizant, replacing outgoing chief Francisco D'Souza after 12 years in the role.

Ex-Vodafone Business CEO Brian Humphries has this week taken the reins at IT services and tech consultancy Cognizant, with long-term CEO and co-founder Francisco D’Souza transitioning to the interim role of executive vice chairman. D’Souza has held the top job since 2007 – for close to half of Cognizant’s existence, with the firm celebrating its 25th anniversary earlier this year.

During his time as CEO, D’Souza has overseen a rapid growth in revenue at the professional services giant, Cognizant last year breaking the $16 billion revenue barrier from a base of at $2.8 billion in 2008 and consequently crashing into the Fortune 200. The firm has also made upwards of 40 acquisitions under D’Souza’s watch – right up until this month, with the purchase of Dublin-based fintech firm Meritsoft.

“On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Frank for his incredible dedication and pioneering leadership of the Company,” said Cognizant Chairman Michael Patsalos-Fox. “During his tenure as CEO, the Company increased annual revenue over ten times what it was when he took over, becoming a Fortune 200 company. We are grateful that Frank has agreed to continue to serve on the Board and fortunate that we will continue to benefit from his experience and energy.”

Naturally, Humphries has big shoes to fill, but brings a wealth of executive tech experience to the role, having together with Vodafone served at Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and Dell over the past two decades. Most recently acting as the CEO of Vodafone Business – which accounts for nearly a third of the telco giant’s revenue – Humphries spent more than ten years at Hewlett Packard, latterly as a Senior Vice President, Emerging Markets.CEO Francisco D'Souza hands over to Brian Humphries at CognizantFrom there, Humphries joined Dell, becoming President, Worldwide Enterprise Solutions, before taking on the role of President and Chief Operating Officer for its Infrastructure Solutions Group upon Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of EMC – still the largest tech deal in history, and by some margin. “With a strong track record of success across different companies, cultures and roles, Brian is the right executive to lead Cognizant,” said.

Patsalos-Fox continues: “Our industry is entering a dynamic new growth stage. Brian is a broadly experienced technology executive with a proven track record of driving enterprise-wide transformation through focused execution, often in challenging and highly competitive market segments. Brian brings a global perspective and a keen knowledge of our businesses and the technologies with which we innovate.”

With Humphries now on board, D’Souza will carry out the executive vice chairman role during the transition period to the end of June, after which he will serve the board as a vice chairman. Cognizant president Rajeev Mehta has also stepped down, and will depart in May after 22 years at the company. “We're grateful to Raj for his countless contributions to the growth and success of Cognizant,” D’Souza said, wishing Mehta success in his future endeavours.

“It is an honor and a privilege to join Cognizant, which has been at the forefront of the digital revolution – driving innovative and transformational change for many of the largest enterprises in the world,” Humphries said at the time of his appointment. “I look forward to building on the great work and collaboration Cognizant has with clients, the development of innovative solutions and its operational execution and strength. The opportunity to lead Cognizant is an exciting one.”

While Cognizant has seen exceptional growth in recent years, there’s certainly room for more should it successfully tap Asia, where the firm has seven offices – with the North American and European markets accounting for more than $15 billion of its 2018 revenues. Close competitor Infosys is increasingly eyeing the region, this week finalising a joint venture with Hitachi in Japan and in September signing a deal with Singaporean state investment firm Temasek.