He emigrated with his family to the United States in 1976 to escape civil unrest in his native Sri Lanka. The family originally settled in South Carolina. He attended Furman University from 1980 to 1983, and left without completing a degree.
Kumar became an employee of Computer Associates in 1987, when it acquired UCCEL Corp. in an $800 million buy-out. Kumar was, at the time, UCCEL's director of software development and had been employed by UCCEL only for a few months.
Kumar was promoted to Vice President of Planning the following year, relocating to Computer Associates' Long Island headquarters. Over the years, he held various leadership roles at the firm. In 1989, he became Senior Vice President of Planning and in 1993 moved up to Executive Vice President of Operations. Kumar was named President and Chief Operating Officer in 1994 at age 31. Kumar succeeded the retiring Tony Wang, the older brother of Chief Executive Officer Charles Wang, as Tony was pressured to leave to make way.
In 2000, Kumar replaced his mentor Charles Wang as Chief Executive Officer of the firm and in 2002 became Chairman of Computer Associates' board of directors. Kumar is widely credited for moving CA to be more customer-friendly.
Kumar resigned as chairman and chief executive in April 2004, following an investigation into securities fraud and obstruction of justice at Computer Associates. He remained with the firm in the new position of Chief Software Architect for about six weeks before leaving the firm altogether on June 4, 2004. A federal grand jury in Brooklyn indicted him on fraud charges on September 22, 2004. Kumar pled guilty to obstruction of justice and securities fraud charges on April 24, 2006. On November 2, 2006, it was reported that he was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $8 million for his role in a massive accounting fraud at Computer Associates. As of January 2013[update], Kumar is housed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami, Florida, with a projected release date of January 25, 2018.
At the hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, Judge Leo Glasser sentenced Kumar, 44 years old, to 144 months in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release. The judge deferred payment of the fine until after restitution is determined at a hearing scheduled for February 2, 2007. Kumar was scheduled to report to prison on February 27, but that was delayed by two months due to delays in the restitution hearing. The start of the prison sentence was then delayed again, to November. However, in early June U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser ordered Kumar to surrender by August 14, 2007 to the Federal Correctional Center in Fairton, New Jersey, to begin serving his 12-year sentence, and on that date he did so.
"I stand before your honor today to take full responsibility for my actions," Kumar said prior to sentencing. "I know that I was wrong and there’s no excuse for my conduct."
On April 13, 2007, Judge Glasser approved an agreement for Kumar to pay $798.6 million in restitution, at least $52 million by December 31, 2008. After he serves his 12-year prison term, the government may take 20% of his future gross annual pay for restitution.
At one time, Kumar was a part owner, with Wang, in the New York Islanders hockey team and New York Dragons arena football team, but, according to local news reports, Wang purchased Kumar's share in 2006.
- "CA's ex-CEO is indicted on fraud". CNN. 2004-09-22. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "Ex-CA chief Kumar pleads guilty". CNN. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- Federal Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator, query for inmate no. 71321-053, accessed January 27, 2013.
- LIBN Breaking News[dead link]
- Rovella, David E. (2007-06-05) CA Ex-Sales Executive to Pay $29.7 Million for Fraud (Update3). Bloomberg. Retrieved on 2013-04-02.
- The Register, 15 August 2007
- Bray, Chad (2007-04-13). "Judge approves nearly $800 mln restitution pact with ex-CA CEO Kumar". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- Berenson, Alex (April 29, 2001). "A Software Company Runs Out of Tricks; The Past May Haunt Computer Associates". The New York Times.