The Vice-Chairman of IT major Cognizant Technology Lakshmi Narayanan, who is also the co-founder of the firm will not seek re-election to the company’s board. Narayanan has been on Cognizant’s board since 2003. The other key member of the board Thomas M. Wendel who has served as a member of the Board since 2001 will also leave the company’s board. “Lakshmi Narayanan and Thomas M. Wendel will not be seeking re-election at the company’s 2017 annual meeting, said Cognizant in a statement.
Narayanan joined the Indian subsidiary of Cognizant in 1994. In 2003, he was appointed CEO and has been the public face of the company. Narayanan was instrumental in shaping its business especially when it was blazing ahead of its peers in the IT services industry.
“On behalf of the board and our entire leadership team, I’d like to thank both Lakshmi and Tom for their many years of service and strategic counsel as members of our board and for their role in helping to make Cognizant the leader it is today,” said John Klein, Cognizant’s chairman of the board.
Company also announced that Betsy S. Atkins and John M. Dineen have been elected to its board as new independent directors, effective April 1, 2017.
Atkins, 63, has been the CEO of venture capital firm Baja LLC, a company she founded, and was previously Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Clear Standards, Inc., a provider of energy management and sustainability software and solutions.
Dineen, 53, previously served as CEO of GE Healthcare and held a number of senior executive roles in his 28 year career at General Electric. Since January 2015, he has served as Operating Advisor at private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC.
“Both Betsy and John bring a wide range of expertise to the Cognizant Board,” said Francisco D’Souza, Cognizant CEO. “In addition to leading several successful companies, Betsy has served on numerous boards across a range of global industries, is a recognized expert on corporate governance and brings a wealth of experience to Cognizant. John’s extensive operating experience and leadership roles in healthcare and several other key industries and geographies we serve will provide us with a unique and valuable perspective. We are pleased to welcome both of these proven business leaders to our board.”
This announcement comes at a time when the company is under scrutiny for improper payments made towards India facilities, which it informed the SEC in September last year. Earlier this month, Cognizant said it has incurred $27 million in costs related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation and related lawsuits. In its annual report, the Nasdaq-listed company said it expects to continue to incur these expenses, which could impact its business.