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Forbes India: Associate Editor Blogs About Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza’s Leadership Strengths

In a blog post about the cover story on Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza in the May 11, 2012, issue of Forbes India, Mitu Jayashankar writes, “Under him [D’Souza], Cognizant has grown from a revenue base of $2 bn in 2007 to over $ 6 bn in 2011.” She writes that she is often asked about the secret of Cognizant’s success. “There are many,” she writes, “but I think their deadliest weapon is Francisco’s age and energy. In the past I have written about how the IT business is all about energy and momentum. Francisco has that in bucket loads. While reporting for our latest story, we heard dozens of anecdotes, of Frank working 24*7, pulling in all nighters to close large deals, or taking transatlantic flights to spend a couple of hours with a client.”

Jayashankar shares an anecdote narrated by Sullajja Firodia Motwani of Kinetic Engineering, who was Frank’s classmate at Carnegie Mellon: “Some time back when Frank was in Pune, he invited her to attend an event at the campus,” Jayashankar writes. “Post the event she hung around with Frank for dinner. And she observed how young software engineers felt extremely comfortable walking up to Frank to say hello and chat him up. She says while they were respectful of him, they weren’t in awe of him, they could relate to him easily.”

“Age isn’t just a number, it’s a mindset,” notes Jayashankar, and quotes Lakshmi Narayanan as saying that Frank is almost like a millennial, he is tech savvy and a total gadget freak. “His thinking is not like that of an enterprise programmer, it is like a social programmer,” says Lakshmi Narayanan and adds that when Frank wanted ideas for a new initiative he has started inside the company, he created a Facebook- like platform. Jayashankar says that Frank’s age is a big advantage. “He has a long time to put a plan in place and see it through.”

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