Cognizant's Francisco D'Souza better than Tim Cook and Larry Page?

Cognizant's employees gave D'Souza a 96 percent approval rating for his role as CEO of the tech firm, vaulting him to sixth position ahead of fellow tech CEOs such as Google's Page at 95 percent and Apple's Tim Cook at 93 percent.

Uttara Choudhury March 20, 2013 09:47:08 IST
Cognizant's Francisco D'Souza better than Tim Cook and Larry Page?

New York: Hoodie-wearing Harvard dropout Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 28, topped the rankings for Glassdoor's annual list of Top 50 CEOs. India's Francisco D'Souza, CEO of Cognizant Technology Solutions beat Apple's Tim Cook and Google's Larry Page for his leadership chops.

Tata Consultancy's Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Mindtree's Krishnakumar Natarajan and Wipro's T.K. Kurien also made it to this year's Top 50 list of CEOs from Glassdoor, a career community online.

Cognizant's employees gave D'Souza a 96 percent approval rating for his role as CEO of the US-headquartered tech services firm, vaulting him to sixth position ahead of fellow tech CEOs such as Google's Larry Page at 95 percent and Apple's Tim Cook at 93 percent.

D'Souza, 43, the son of a career diplomat with the Indian Foreign Service, was born in Kenya, and has worked in Germany, Hong Kong, India and the US. He is the very model of a cosmopolitan Indian and has the intellectual pedigree (educated in the University of East Asia in Japan and an MBA from Carnegie-Mellon University) for an itinerant world.

He learnt programming on his own and as an enterprising 16-year-old sold his first piece of software, an inventory management system, to the Trinidadian army.

In a rapid-fire interview with the Financial Times he said his three best features were; "I am hands-on; I like to hear directly from clients and employees; I'm determined." He rated his three worst qualities as "I can be too intense, demanding and impatient."

Cognizants Francisco DSouza better than Tim Cook and Larry Page

D'Souza says the biggest influence in his life was his father. AFP

D'Souza says the biggest influence in his life was his father. "Every three years, he would get transferred and we would be uprooted and thrown into a new milieu," D'Souza told the Mint.

The ability to navigate "new milieus" has made D'Souza a very successful CEO. He joined Cognizant as a co-founder in 1994, the year it was started as a division of The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. In 2007, at the age of 38, D'Souza took over as the CEO from Lakshmi Narayanan.

With D'Souza at the helm Cognizant's revenues have grown from $1.4 billion to over $7 billion and its employees have expanded from 55,000 to over 1,50,000. Cognizant has about 75 percent of its staff in India. For the quarter ended 31 December, Cognizant posted better-than-expected results. Earnings per share grew 18 percent and beat estimates by nearly 9 percent. Revenue rose 17 percent. The results extended Cognizant's streak of double-digit top-and bottom-line growth to 15 quarters in a row.

Tata Consultancy's Natarajan saw his approval rating climb 21 percentage points from last year to 90 percent to close out the 28th spot, while Wipro's Kurien's scored an approval rating of 82 percent to move to 44th place.

Tata Consultancy is India's top software services provider with annual revenue of more than $10 billion and some 260,000 employees. Its largest market is the United States where things are looking up.

Glassdoor's ratings system comes from the site asking members whether they approve of the way the CEO is leading their company. The career site's members are allowed to remain anonymous, but Glassdoor says that it authenticates email contacts.

Last year's No. 1, Apple CEO Tim Cook slid to No. 18 in the rankings. Cook's decline in rating falls in line with a whopping stock decline that took place since the 2012 rankings, when Apple shares were approaching $700. Apple shares closed at $454.49 on Tuesday.

Only one woman received enough support from her team to make it to Glassdoor's new list of the best CEOs based on employee reviews. Victoria Secret's Sharen Turney ranked number 42 out of 50 on the list.

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