1 . Biography
Born July 24, 1945
Achievements Chairman of Wipro Technologies, Richest Indian for the past several years, Honored with Padma Bhushan in 2005.Azim Premji is Chairman of Wipro Technologies, one of the largest software companies in India. He is an icon among Indian businessmen and his success story is a source of inspiration to a number of budding entrepreneurs.Born on July 24, 1945, Azim Hashim Premji was studying Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, USA when due to the sudden demise of his father, he was called upon to handle the family business. Azim Premji took over the reins of family business in 1966 at the age of 21.At the first annual general meeting of the company attended by Azeem Premji, a shareholder doubted Premjis ability to handle business at such a young age and publicly advised him to sell his shareholding and give it to a more mature management. This spurred Azim Premji and made him all the more determined to make Wipro a success story. And the rest is history.
When Azim Premji occupied the hot seat, Wipro dealt in hydrogenated cooking fats and later diversified to bakery fats, ethnic ingredient based toiletries, hair care soaps, baby toiletries, lighting products and hydraulic cylinders. Thereafter Premji made a focused shift from soaps to software.Under Azim Premjis leadership Wipro has metamorphosed from a Rs.70 million company in hydrogenated cooking fats to a pioneer in providing integrated business, technology and process solutions on a global delivery platform. Today, Wipro Technologies is the largest independent R&D service provider in the world.Azim Premji has several achievements to his credit. In 2000, Asiaweek magazine, voted Premji among the 20 most powerful men in the world. Azim Premji was among the 50 richest people in the world from 2001 to 2003 listed by Forbes. In April 2004, Times Magazine, rated him among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. He is also the richest Indian for the past several years. In 2005,Government of India honored Azim Premji with Padma Bhushan.
2 . Career
In 1966, on the news of his fathers death, the then 21 year old Azim Premji returned home from Stanford University, where he was studying engineering, to take charge of Wipro. The company, which was called Western Indian Vegetable Products at the time, dealt in hydrogenated oil manufacturing but Azim Premji later diversified the company to bakery fats, ethnic ingredient based toiletries, hair care soaps, baby toiletries, lighting products, and hydraulic cylinders. In the 1980s, the young entrepreneur, recognising the importance of the emerging IT field, took advantage of the vacuum left behind by the expulsion of IBM from India, changed the company name to Wipro and entered the high technology sector by manufacturing minicomputers under technological collaboration with an American company Sentinel Computer Corporation.Thereafter Premji made a focused shift from soaps to software.
3 . Personal life
Azim was born in Mumbai India in a Muslim family originally hailing from Kutch in Gujarat.His grandfather was a noted businessman and was known as Rice King of Burma. After partition, when Jinnah invited his grandfather to come to Pakistan, he turned down the request and chose to remain in India.He has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree (equivalent to a Bachelor of Engineering degree) from Stanford University, USA. He is married to Yasmeen. The couple have two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of IT Business, Wipro.Premji has been recognised by Business Week as one of the Greatest Entrepreneurs for being responsible for Wipro emerging as one of the worlds fastest growing companies.
In 2000, he was conferred an honorary doctorate by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education. In 2006, Azim Premji was awarded Lakshya Business Visionary by National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai. In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut for his outstanding philanthropic work.In 2005, the Government of India honoured him with the title of Padma Bhushan for his outstanding work in trade and commerce.In 2011, he has been awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award by the Government of India.In 2013, he received the ET Lifetime Achievement Award.
4 . Education
Education quality is a gargantuan problem in our country, even as education access has been improving. The leading NGO Pratham has been publishing the Status of Education Report (ASER), a credible survey measuring educational outcomes in our country. As the 2012 report recounts In 2010 nationally, 46.3% of all children in Std. V could not read a Std. II level text. This proportion increased to 51.8% in 2011 and further to 53.2% in 2012. For Std. V children enrolled in government schools, the percentage of children unable to read Std. II level text has increased from 49.3% (2010) to 56.2% (2011) to 58.3% (2012)….In rural India as a whole, two years ago about two thirds of all children in Std. V could not do simple division. In 2012 this number is close to three fourths. On and on it goes, enumerating depressing statistics of falling educational outcomes.
5 . Philanthropy
In 2001, he founded Azim Premji Foundation,a non profit organisation, with a vision to significantly contribute to achieving quality universal education that facilitates a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. The Foundation works in the area of elementary education to pilot and develop proofs of concept that have a potential for systemic change in Indias 1.3 million government run schools. A specific focus is on working in rural areas where the majority of these schools exist. This choice to work with elementary education (Class I to VIII) in rural government run is a response to evidence of educational attainment in India.The non profit organisation set up by Premji in 2001 currently functions across Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, in close partnership with various state governments. The foundation has worked largely in rural areas, to help contribute to the improvement of quality and equity of school education.In December 2010, he pledged to donate $2 billion for improving school education in India. This has been done by transferring 213 million equity shares of Wipro Ltd, held by a few entities controlled by him, to the Azim Premji Trust. This donation is the largest of its kind in India.The Azim Premji University was established under an act of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly to run programmes to develop education and development professionals, offer alternative models for educational change and also invest in educational research to continuously stretch the boundaries of educational thinking.
6 . The Giving Pledge
Azim Premji has become the first Indian to sign up for the The Giving Pledge, a campaign led by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, to encourage the wealthiest people to make a commitment to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. He is the third non American after Richard Branson and David Sainsbury to join this philanthropy club.I strongly believe that those of us, who are privileged to have wealth, should contribute significantly to try and create a better world for the millions who are far less privilegedAzim PremjiIn April 2013 he said that he has already given more than 25 per cent of his personal wealth to charity.
7 . Family
Azim Premji is married to Yasmeen. The couple has two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is married to Aditi and is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of IT Business, Wipro Technologies.
8 . WIPRO Company Profile
WIPRO was initially known as Western India Vegetable Products Ltd, and was started by Mr.M.H Premji. The company manufactured vegetable oil, vegetable ghee and laundry soap.In 1966, upon the sudden demise of M.H. Premji, his son, Mr. Azim Hasham Premji, a 21 year old student of engineering at Stanford University, had to takeover his fathers business. He worked very hard to diversify and expand, WIPRO. The business diversified into fluid power, soaps, toiletries, lighting and baby care products, and distribution was considerably expanded.
The Infotech era began in the late seventies and WIPRO set up its IT business in Bangalore in 1980. WIPRO became the No.1 listed company in the country in just 15 years. In reorganization, the firm went public with WIPRO Technologies, the global IT services subsidiary, whose gross income grew by 65 percent to reach ` 1042 crore ($240 million).WIPROS technology divisions, global R&D and telecom solutions contributed 46 percent of the software revenue, and the balance was accounted for by enterprise solutions business. E commerce contributed 15 percent of enterprise solutions revenue for the year. Sales and other incomes of the second division, Wipro InfoTech, the Indian IT services and products business that takes care of networking solutions, customer services, computers and peripherals, grew by 20 percent to ` 825 crore.
9 . Financial status
Azim Premji transformed WIPRO ltd (western India products ltd) from a vegetable oils maker into a robust IT company, which is ranked 3rd amongst Indias computer service providing companies.He took over his fathers business at the age of 21, after he joined WIPRO he slowly and steadily entered into other product lines such as ethnic ingredient based toiletries, hair care soaps, lightning products and hydraulic cylinders. Thereafter he shifted his focus from soaps to software. In the 1980s WIPRO entered into the technology field. Since his immigration into his fathers business he has transformed a US $2million company into a global technology group with $2.5 billion in sales.Premji is a very simple man with a frugal lifestyle who flies economy class and prefers staying in company guest houses rather than luxury hotels.
10 . Achievements and Awards
He is the second richest man in India.
Transformed WIPRO from vegetable oils company to a large software giant.
In the year 2001, Premji established the Azim Premji Foundation, a not for profit organization with a Vision of significantly contributing to quality primary education for every child, in order to build a fair, equitable, humane & sustainable society.
Member of Prime Ministers Committee for trade and industry in India.
He has made WIPRO the biggest BPO service provider in India.
Premji was honored with the Business Man Of The Year award in 2000 by Business India and Business Leader of the year in 2004 by Economic Times.
Time listed him in April 2004 as one amongst the 100 most influential persons in the world.
He was named by Fortune in August 2003 as one of the 25 most powerful business leaders outside the US. Also in 2003 listed him as one of the ten people globally who have the power to effect change .Business Week in October 2003 featured him on their cover with the sobriquet Indias Tech King.
Government of India awarded him the Padambhushana.
In 2005 he became the first Indian recipient of the Faraday Medal. Wesleyan University, USA, Indian Institute of Technology, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Aligarh University and Visveswaraya Technological University have all presented him with honorary doctorates, while XLRI, Jamshedpur has conferred the Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Industrial and Social Peace. In 2000, the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers conferred its highest honor the Honorary Fellowship. The US India Business Council has honored him with the Global Vision award.