Cognizant CEO: 'The numbers tell a tale, this was a great quarter'

Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries lauded a "series of firsts" including the first year of double-digit revenue growth since 2015.
Written by Tiernan Ray, Senior Contributing Writer

"The numbers tell a tale, this was a great quarter," said Brian Humphries, CEO of IT services giant Cognizant Technology Solutions, in an interview with ZDNet Wednesday afternoon. 

Humphries spoke with ZDNet after the company's afternoon report of Q4 revenue that was in line with Wall Street's expectations, and a profit that was higher than expected, and an outlook that was in line with exepectations. 

Cognizant declined slightly in late trading following the report.

Humphries noted several metrics of the quarter that "in a sense, were firsts" for the company, and with which he was "delighted," he told ZDNet

"Q4 revenue was the highest-ever quarterly revenue," said Humphries. "The fiscal-year revenue of $18.5 billion was our highest-ever annual revenue, our 10% growth in constant-currency was our first year of double-digit revenue growth since 2015, and our employee count of 330,000 is at our highest ever, and our stock price hit an all-time high just a few weeks ago."

Cognizant's total headcount at quarter's end was 330,600, a net increase of 41,000 people in 2021.

Revenue in the three months ended in December rose 14%, year over year, to $4.78 billion, yielding a net profit of $1.10 a share.

Analysts had been modeling $4.78 billion and $1.04 per share.

The company's revenue from its most-advanced projects, known as "digital," rose by 20%, it said. That was a speed-up from the full-year rate of growth of digital of 19%. Digital made up 45% of revenue in the quarter. Humphries has set a goal to get that number to 55% to 60% of revenue in coming years.

The company continues to see employees depart at a high rate, citing voluntary attrition on an annualized basis of 31%.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $4.8 billion to $4.84 billion versus consensus for $4.83 billion.

For the full year, the company sees revenue in a range of $20 billion to $20.5 billion, and EPS of $4.46 to $4.60. That compares to consensus of $20.16 billion and a $4.53 profit per share.

In prepared remarks in the press release, Humphries said he was "proud of Cognizant's broad-based progress over the past year," adding, "We successfully executed our strategy by meaningfully enhancing our digital portfolio, strengthening our international presence, and helping our clients be successful. 

"We enter 2022 with momentum and confidence that our talented employees position us to capture the substantial market opportunity."

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