24 July 1945 |
Karachi, British India
|Alma mater||Stanford University|
|Occupation||Chairman of Wipro|
|Net worth||US$ 17.2 billion (2013)|
Azim Hashim Premji (born 24 July 1945) is an Indian business tycoon and philanthropist who is the chairman of Wipro Limited, guiding the company through four decades of diversification and growth to emerge as one of the Indian leaders in the software industry. According to Forbes, he is currently the fourth wealthiest Indian, and the 91st richest in the world, with a personal wealth of $17.2 billion in 2013. In 2000, he was voted among the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asiaweek. He has twice been listed among the 100 most influential people by TIME Magazine, once in 2004 and more recently in 2011. Premji owns 79 percent of Wipro and also owns a private equity fund, PremjiInvest, which manages his $1 billion personal portfolio.
On news of his father's death, the 21 years old Premji returned home from Stanford University in the USA, where he was studying engineering, to take charge of Wipro in 1967. Wipro, which was then called Western Indian Vegetable Products dealt in hydrogenated oil manufacturing at the time, 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, recognizing 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.
Azim was born in Karachi then part of British India in a Muslim family originally hailing from Kutch. His grandfather was a noted businessman and was known as Rice King of Burma. Later the family shifted to Bombay. 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 world’s 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.
Azim Premji Foundation and University
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 India's 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.
The Giving Pledge
Azim Premji has become the first Indian to sign up for 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 privileged"--- Azim Premji
In April 2013 he said that he has already given more than 25 per cent of his personal wealth to charity.
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- Chakravarty, 1998:2
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- "Villager becomes a tycoon: Why everyone’s talking about Yasmeen Premji’s debut novel". The India Express. 29 July 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- Ismailis in the News: Azim Premji | Ismailimail. Ismailimail.wordpress.com (2006-12-14). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
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- Wipro Ltd chief features in Business Week's "30 Greatest Entrepreneurs of all Time" list[dead link]
- Azim Premji awarded by NITIE. Financialexpress.com (22 October 2006). Retrieved on 2011-11-12.
- Roth on Wesleyan » Blog Archive » Studying Abroad. Roth.blogs.wesleyan.edu (8 January 2010). Retrieved on 2011-11-12.
- "Padma Awards Announced" (Press release). Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- Azim Premji Foundation. Azim Premji Foundation. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
- "Azim Premji donates half of his wealth". 20 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "I have given 25% of my wealth to charity, Wipro chairman Azim Premji says". The Times of India. PTI. 19 April 2013. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Azim Premji.|
- Profile at Wipro
- Works by or about Azim Premji in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Profile at Forbes
- Azim Premji collected news and commentary at The Wall Street Journal
- Azim Premji collected news and commentary at Bloomberg News
- Azim Premji collected news and commentary at The Times of India
- Gates, Bill (21 April 2011). "Azim Premji". Time. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
- Smith, David (27 August 2006). "The story of Bangalore Bill". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2011.