Journey of Azim Premji and Wipro from 1945 to 2019 – Azim Hashim Premji is an Indian businessman, investor, philanthropist, and the current Chairman of Wipro Limited. Born 24 July 1945, he is known as the Czar of the Indian IT Industry. He was the in-charge of guiding Wipro through four decades of diversification and growth to finally emerge as one of the global leaders in the software industry.
As of May 2019, he is currently the second richest person in India with an estimated net worth of US$21.5 billion. He has now decided to step down from the post of Chairman of Wipro w.e.f. 31st July 2019. His elder son, Rishad Premji, will step in as the next Chairman.
Here is the long journey of Azim Premji and Wipro from 1945 to 2019
- In 1945, the birth year of Azim Premji, his father, Muhammed Hashim Premji started Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd., based at Amalner, Maharashtra. The company used to manufacture cooking oil under the brand name ‘Sunflower Vanaspati’, and a laundry soap ‘787’ which was majorly a by-product of the oil manufacturing activity.
- After the death of Hashim Premji in 1966, Azim Premji took charge of his father’s company. He was then studying engineering from Stanford University, USA. It was a huge task to handle and Premji was also advised to sell off his shares in the firm.
- The company was majorly into hydrogenated cooking fats. But later Azim Premji expanded to add products like bakery fats, ethnic ingredient based toiletries, baby toiletries, hair care, soaps, lighting products, etc.
- During the 1980s, Azim recognized the rapid growth of IT. To take advantage of this, he steered the company to enter the high-technology sector. In 1982, the company entered into the IT products business. The name of the company was also changed to Wipro. After the expulsion of IBM from India, Wipro made a final shift from soaps to software.
- Later, Azim decided to enter into the third-party Research and Development and IT services business in 1990.
Must read: Rich Indian Women with a Heart of Gold
The Journey of Azim Premji and Wipro from 1945 to 2019
- In 1995, Premji started taking correspondence classes to complete his engineering degree from Stanford.
- The firm got listed in NYSE in the year 2000 and also entered into the BPO business.
- Wipro became the fastest wealth creator in 2002 in five years (1997-2002 BPO business).
- In the year 2010, Azim was voted among the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asia week.
- In 2013, the company separated its Businesses and Wipro Enterprises Ltd was formed to focus primarily on the IT business.
- In the year 2015, ‘Wipro Digital’ was launched and the firm acquired DesignIt and Appirio.
- Wipro Limited has a long list of awards won on national and international levels.
- In 2018, Wipro lost the tag of being the third-largest IT services firm to rival HCL Technologies.
- On 06 June 2019, Azim Premji announced that he will step down as the Chairman of Wipro w.e.f. 31st July 2019 and devote most of the time to philanthropic activities. Azim Premji will continue as a non-executive director and founder chairman of Wipro.
Azim Premji the Philanthropist
- In the year 2001, he founded Azim Premji Foundation as a CSR initiative. The Foundation imparts training as also works for improving the quality of education.
- Premji pledged to donate US$ 2 billion for improving school education in India in the year 2010. The commitment was first of its kind by any Indian billionaire.
- In March 2019 he announced that all the earnings from his 34% shares of India’s fourth-largest software services exporter Wipro worth INR 52,750 Crores would be used for charitable causes.
- Premji has committed earnings from 67% of Wipro’s share to the charitable foundation.
- He has so far created a corpus of US$ 21 billion for philanthropic causes.