Cognizant steps up revenues to $16.8 billion, as ex-CEO exits board

11 February 2020 3 min. read
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Global ICT consultancy Cognizant has pulled in $16.8 billion in revenues for 2019 – with former CEO Francisco D'Souza now set to depart the firm.

Global technology and professional services firm Cognizant has reported revenues of $16.8 billion for its 2019 financial year, to be up by 4.1 percent on 2018. Cognizant’s operations are divided between three primary geographies – North America, the UK/Continental Europe, and the ‘Rest of World’ including Asia – with the latter realising year-on-year growth just shy of double-digits to crack the $1 billion mark for the first time, and a 6.3 percent overall share.

According to CEO Brian Humphries, the firm, which presently generates over three quarters of its revenues in North America, is eyeing fresh markets as part of a two-pronged future strategy. “The first element is to protect and optimise our core business while scaling internationally,” stated Humphries, who took the helm in April of last year. “The second part is to invest to compete and win in four key digital battlegrounds: data, digital engineering, cloud and IoT.”

Meanwhile, Humphries’ predecessor, Cognizant co-founder and long-time CEO Francisco D'Souza, will step down from his role as Vice Chairman effective from the end of next month. “A key architect of Cognizant, Frank helped lead the company through a quarter-century of remarkable growth and success,” said chairman Michael Patsalos-Fox. “He leaves a powerful and unforgettable legacy as a global thinker, mentor, builder, and champion of initiatives that improve lives in our communities.”

Cognizant steps up revenues to $16.8 billion, as ex-CEO exits board

For its 2019 financial year, Cognizant saw revenues from its Communications, Media and Technology (CMT) and Products and Resources segments jump by upwards of 10 percent (totaling ~$2.45 billion and $3.77 billion respectively), while Financial Services – flat at plus 0.4 percent – brought in the bulk of the firm’s earnings at around $5.87 billion, equivalent to a 35 percent share. Its fourth major line, Healthcare, contributed just under $4.7 billion.

“Our steady progress against key initiatives is increasingly evident in our commercial and financial performance. We enter 2020 with renewed vigor and optimism,” said Humphries, who oversees a global headcount pushing toward the 300,000 mark, albeit with a sizeable sum in India currently facing the axe. As part of a wider, ongoing restructuring initiative, the firm last year spent over $100 million on employee separation and retention costs.

Some of the firm’s earnings will also in a sense be put toward two recently announced back-to-back acquisitions in the Salesforce space; France’s EI-Technologies and Code Zero of the US, adding a further 400 experts to Cognizant’s headcount across both countries. In a fairly clear signal, the dual purchases follow on from the firm’s 2018 pick-up of Asia Pacific-based Salesforce specialist SaaSfocus, one of the region’s largest consultancies of its kind.

“Our 2020 outlook reflects our commitment to further improve our cost structure to fund investments in growth,” Cognizant Chief Financial Officer Karen McLoughlin concluded in the firm’s financial statement, with growth expected of between 2 and 4 percent. “We are executing a balanced capital deployment strategy that is focused on reaccelerating top-line growth through strategic acquisitions and other investments while returning capital to shareholders.”