June 23, 2021
Digital and product engineering services provider Accolite Digital has made a slew of appointments to its leadership team, including a number of Cognizant veterans, to help scale up its operations in North America and India.
The Texas-based company, which has digital laboratories in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Chennai, has hired a new chief financial officer, delivery head, and president for North American operations among others.
Accolite has appointed Mark Himelfarb, global chief financial officer at Publicis Sapient, as its CFO, Pani Baruri, who was previously handling the European delivery unit of Cognizant, as head of delivery, and Sudarshan Mandayam, a former vice president and strategic business unit head at Cognizant, as president, North America.
“There are several senior executives who have left Cognizant and it has had a brain drain of some of the top talent,” said Leela Kaza, chairman and CEO of Accolite Digital.
He hinted that his company is looking to emulate Cognizant’s success. “We are looking for that differentiated talent and capabilities and maturity of leaders that have managed scale that can help recreate what Cognizant has gone through in the last 15 years in terms of a high growth market leader, especially in the BFSI space,” Kaza said.
He said Accolite will within four weeks announce the appointment of a new head of sales for the BFSI vertical, particularly in North America, who will also be from the Cognizant ecosystem.
A number of senior leaders have left Cognizant in the past 12-15 months after the New Jersey-based company initiated a restructuring under CEO Brian Humphries. These executives have bagged bigger roles including at the C-suite level in smaller smallerorganisations, and Cognizant has become a ‘CEO factory’ of sorts.
“What we are finding is an opportunity in that ecosystem where senior leaders are looking for young, hungry, high-growth organizations where they can make a difference,” Kaza said.
In March, Accolite had appointed ex-Cognizant executive Rajesh Balasubramanian as head of people and culture, India. Balasubramanian was earlier global head, talent acquisition enablement services, at Cognizant where he worked for 16 years.
Earlier this month, IT services firm Virtusa appointed former Cognizant president Santosh Thomas as CEO. He had spent over 21 years at Cognizant.
Debasis Chatterjee, a former president at Cognizant, is CEO of Mindtree since August 2019.
Nirav Patel, who was senior VP leading the company’s communications, media and technology business and had spent 19-years at Cognizant, left to become CEO and president of Bristlecone, a Mahindra Group company, in July last year.
Gajen Kandiah, former president, digital business and digital engineering, at Cognizant, too, had left the firm in the same month. After a short stint with an investment firm, he was appointed as CEO of Hitachi Vantara. Kandiah spent 15 years with Cognizant and led the company’s multi-billion-dollar digital business.
Baruri, who has joined Accolite as head of delivery, spent over 17 years at Cognizant and was its vice president and head - banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), for the UK and Ireland.
Mandayam, who would be responsible for growing Accolite’s client base in North America, led global consulting practice at L&T Infotech after spending about eight years at Cognizant.
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Addison, TX, Accolite Digital is a digital transformation services provider to the banking and financial services, technology, healthcare, communications and media, and logistics industries. Through its operations in the U.S., Asia and Europe, Accolite provides digital product engineering, cloud services, data engineering, DevOps, customer experience and design services to leading Fortune 500 customers.