Paul Hermelin has seen both sides of the offshoring phenomenon. When he took over as chief executive of Capgemini (CAPP.PA) in 2002, Europe's largest information technology services outfit was still struggling to get past its 2000 merger with Ernst & Young Consulting while facing competition from upstart Indian firms. Now, thanks to a lot of hard work by Hermelin and his executive team, the company is benefiting from the massive shift in outsourcing to lower-cost countries—where Capgemini's staff has more than doubled over the past four years, to 20,000 people.
On Feb. 14, Capgemini turned in a stronger-than-expected earnings report. Revenues rose 13%, to $11.9 billion, and net income nearly doubled, to $602 million. The company's operating profit margin came in at 7.4%, and Hermelin expects it to hit 8.5% this year. Because of the restructuring of a major contract with the British government, however, Capgemini is forecasting only a 2% to 5% revenue increase in 2008. After the quarterly update, Hermelin discussed the company's strategy with BusinessWeek senior writer Steve Hamm.