Cognizant appoints former US government IT leader to head tech

CHENNAI/BENGALURU: Cognizant has brought in a new technology leader who will report directly to CEO Brian Humphries. Anil Cheriyan, who was director of the US federal government’s technology transformation services, and prior to that with SunTrust Banks and IBM, will be executive vice president of strategy and technology effective August 3.
He will be part of Cognizant’s executive committee and will oversee global IT, which is led by Rakesh Bhardwaj, global security, led by Dan Smith, and the strategy, alliances, and business development (including accelerator) team, led by Brad Berry.

“I believe this is the first time Cognizant will have a technology leader reporting directly to the CEO, which is fitting as IT transitions from being a support function for clients’ business models to becoming the essence of their businesses,” Humphries wrote in an email to employees.
He went on to write: “While this is an expansive role that will be visible externally and internally, Anil’s immediate priority … will be to take the reins of our IT and security remediation efforts from Greg Hyttenrauch, who has led these efforts on my behalf since April. Greg can now return to focusing 100% on leading digital systems and technology.”
Cheriyan was in the US government role for the past 18 months.The department’s role is to help government agencies make their services more accessible, efficient, and effective with modern applications, platforms and processes. In a note on LinkedIn two weeks ago, he said: “We have had a great run and built a fabulous team with great successes.”
He went on to note that they grew the CoE (centre of excellence) program from 2 to 12 agencies, built up the Whilte House Presidential Innovation Fellows into 40 fabulous fellows (innovators who work with federal leaders to build a modern government), and built out accelerator platforms.

Prior to this government role, Cheriyan served as EVP and CIO of the $10-billion SunTrust Banks, where he led the bank’s digital, operations, and data transformation. He reported directly to the chairman and CEO.
He has also held senior leadership roles at IBM global services and PwC management consulting.

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