Azim Hashim Premji
24 July 1945
|Alma mater||Stanford University (B.S.E)|
|Occupation||Founder chairman of Wipro|
|Children||Rishad Premji, Tariq|
|Parent(s)||Mohamed Hashem Premji|
|Website||Azim Premji at Wipro|
Azim Hashim Premji (born 24 July 1945) is an Indian business tycoon, investor, engineer, and philanthropist, who was the chairman of Wipro Limited. Premji remains a non-executive member of the board and founder chairman. He is informally known as the Czar of the Indian IT Industry. He was responsible for guiding Wipro through four decades of diversification and growth, to finally emerge as one of the global leaders in the software industry. In 2010, 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. For years, he has been regularly listed one among the 500 Most Influential Muslims.
He is one of the richest people in India with an estimated net worth of US$32.8 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. In 2013, he agreed to give away at least half of his wealth by signing the Giving Pledge. Premji started with a $2.2 billion donation to the Azim Premji Foundation, focused on education in India. He topped the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List for 2020. In 2019, he dropped from the 2nd position in the Forbes India Rich list to 17th position after giving away a huge amount to charity.
Early life and education
Premji was born in Bombay, India in a Gujarati Muslim family. His father was a noted businessman and was known as Rice King of Burma. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, invited his father Muhammed Hashem Premji to come to Pakistan, he turned down the request and chose to remain in India.
Premji has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Stanford University. He is married to Yasmeen Premji. The couple have two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad Premji is currently the chief strategy officer of IT business, Wipro.
In 1945, Muhammed Hashim Premji incorporated Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd, based at Amalner, a small town in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. It used to manufacture cooking oil under the brand name Sunflower Vanaspati, and a laundry soap called 787, a byproduct of oil manufacture. In 1966, on the news of his father's 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 in technological collaboration with an American company Sentinel Computer Corporation. Thereafter, Premji made a focused shift from soaps to software.
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 2015, Mysore University conferred an honorary doctorate on him.
In 2019, Forbes put Premji in the list of the world's most generous philanthropists outside of the US.
Azim Premji Foundation
In 2001, he founded Azim Premji Foundation,a non-profit organization.
In December 2010, he pledged to donate US$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. In March 2019, Premji pledged an additional 34% of Wipro stock held by him to the foundation. At a current value of about US$7.5 billion, this allocation will bring the total endowment from him to the foundation to US$21 billion.
In May 2020, the Azim Premji Foundation collaborated with the National Centre for Biological Sciences, and the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine for augmenting testing infrastructure to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Giving Pledge
Premji has said that being rich "did not thrill" him. He became 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 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
EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List
Azim Premji topped the list of "India's most generous" released by Hurun India and EdelGive on 10 November 2020. He donated ₹7,904 crore in financial year 2019-20 which is a 17-fold jump from the ₹453 crore donated in FY19. Education is the primary cause for his donations.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Azim Premji.|
- Profile at Wipro
- Azim Premji on Charlie Rose
- Works by or about Azim Premji in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Profile at Forbes
- Gates, Bill (21 April 2011). "Azim Premji". Time. Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
- Smith, David (27 August 2006). "The story of Bangalore Bill". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2011.