Wipro’s loss could be Cognizant’s gain. According to an executive familiar with the development, Jatin Dalal, who resigned as chief financial officer (CFO) of Wipro on September 21, is expected to take over as CFO of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. The CEO did not want to be identified.
Dalal, 48 years old, is a former Wipro employee. He joined the company in 2002 and took over as the company’s chief financial officer in 2015. His last day is November 30. Wipro has appointed Aparna Iyer as his successor.
If Dalal does indeed join Cognizant, it would be the New Jersey-based company’s first significant hire from a local technology services company under its new chief executive, S. Ravi Kumar.
Cognizant has struggled to keep up with peers in recent years, and Kumar was hired by rival Infosys Ltd. in January this year to steady the ship. On August 2, Cognizant announced that its current CFO, Jan Siegmund, will leave early next year. “We do not comment on market rumors or speculation,” a Cognizant spokesperson said when Mint asked for clarification on the hiring. Calls and messages to Dalal went unanswered.
Wipro did not share the reason for Dalal’s departure. But chief executive Delaporte told Mint that the former CFO wanted to “progress” and “do something different” (see interview). However, Mint learned that Dalal’s departure had been planned for at least eight months and that he was unhappy with the CEO’s leadership style. For Dalal, joining Cognizant will be a step up as he moves to a larger company. Wipro, valued at $26 billion as of September 22, ended 2022–23 with revenue of $11.16 billion. Cognizant, which had a market capitalization of $35.2 billion as of the same day, ended the calendar year 2022 with revenue of $19.4 billion. However, Wipro has better margins. Wipro’s operating profit margin is 16%, higher than Cognizant’s 11.8%.
The role of a CFO is becoming central to technology services exporters as their influence goes beyond just overseeing spreadsheets and into managing operations, engaging with investors and analysts, and above all, playing a key role in shaping the scope and direction of mega deals or contracts valued at more than $1 billion.