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Azim Premji

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Azim Premji

Azim H. Premji World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
Premji in 2013
Azim Hashim Premji

(1945-07-24) 24 July 1945 (age 75)
Alma materStanford University (B.S.E)[2]
OccupationChairman of Wipro
Net worthUS$7.2 billion (October 2019)[3]
ChildrenRishad Premji, Tariq[4]
Parent(s)Mohamed Hashem Premji
WebsiteAzim Premji at Wipro
Signature of Azim Premji.svg

Azim Hashim Premji (born 24 July 1945) is an Indian business tycoon, investor, engineer, and philanthropist, who is the chairman of Wipro Limited. He is informally known as the Czar of the Indian IT Industry.[5][6] 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.[7][8] In 2010, he was voted among the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asiaweek.[9] He has twice been listed among the 100 most influential people by TIME Magazine, once in 2004 and more recently in 2011.[10] For years, he has been regularly listed one among the 500 Most Influential Muslims of the world.[11][12]

He was named the nineteenth richest person in India with an estimated net worth of US$6.5 billion according to the India's Richest 2019 list by Forbes.[13] 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.[14]

Early life and education

Premji was born in Bombay, India in a Muslim family.[1][15] 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.[16]

Premji has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Stanford University.[17] He is married to Yasmeen. The couple have two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of IT Business, Wipro.[18]


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.[19] 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.[20] 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[21] Computer Corporation.[22] Thereafter Premji made a focused shift from soaps to software.[23]


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.[24]

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.[25] In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut for his outstanding philanthropic work.[26] In 2015, Mysore University conferred an honorary doctorate on him.[27]

In 2005, the Government of India honoured him with the title of Padma Bhushan for his outstanding work in trade and commerce.[28]

In 2011, he has been awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award by the Government of India.[29]

In April 2017, India Today magazine ranked him 9th in India's 50 Most powerful people of 2017 list.[30]

In 2018, Premji was conferred with Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) – the highest French civilian distinction by the French Government.[31]

In December 2019, Premji was cited by Forbes magazine as one of the 'Heroes of Philanthropy list of 30 altruists' in the Asia-Pacific region.[32]


Azim Premji Foundation

In 2001, he founded Azim Premji Foundation,a non-profit organization.[33]

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.[34]

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.[35][36]

The foundation has warned against scam emails which claim to be from the foundation and falsely request donations.[37]

The Giving Pledge

Premji has said that being rich "did not thrill" him.[38] 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 philanthropy club.[39]

"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 (AP)

In April 2013 he said that he has already given more than 25 per cent of his personal wealth to charity.[40]

In July 2015, he gave away an additional 18% of his stake in Wipro, taking his total contribution so far to 39%.[41][42]

The first Indian to sign the Giving Pledge, his lifetime giving now stands at US$21 billion.[43] In April 2019, Azim Premji became the main Indian philanthropist.[44]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Azim Premji". Britannica. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  2. ^ "The World's Billionaires No. 83 Azim Premji". Forbes. 3 November 2009. Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  3. ^ "Azim Premji's profile at Forbes". Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  4. ^ "What you didn't know about Rishad Premji". Rediff. 7 June 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
  5. ^ Bhupathi Reddy (30 August 2015). "Top 10 Entrepreneurs of India". Archived from the original on 26 January 2016.
  6. ^ Srikar Muthyala (29 September 2015). "The List of Great Entrepreneurs of India in 2015". MyBTechLife. Archived from the original on 14 January 2016.
  7. ^ Azim Premji Profile Retrieved September 2010.
  8. ^ "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. 3 March 2009. Archived from the original on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  9. ^ "Azim Premji: Latest News, Videos and Azim Premji Photos | Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  10. ^ Gates, Bill. (21 April 2011) Azim Premji – The 2011 TIME 100. TIME. Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  11. ^ "The Muslim 500: Azim-Premji". Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Times of India on 22 most influential Muslims in India". Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Karmali, Naazneen. "Azim Premji Donates $2.3 Billion After Signing Giving Pledge". Forbes. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Azim Premji". Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  16. ^ "Billionaire Profile: Azim Premji by Mandovi Menon". MENSXP.COM. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Wipro Leadership – Azim Premji". Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Rishad Premji is Wipro's new CSO". The Hindu. 2 September 2010. Archived from the original on 8 September 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  19. ^ Western Indian Products Ltd incorporated in 1945. (20 July 2009). Retrieved on 21 November 2015.
  20. ^ "Such a long journey: Azim Premji and Wipro". The Economic Times. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  21. ^ Home Page – Sentinel Technologies, Inc. Retrieved on 21 November 2015.
  22. ^ Chakravarty, 1998:2
  23. ^ Azim Premji Profile – Biography of Azim Premji – Information on Azeem Premji Wipro Technologies. (24 July 1945). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  24. ^ Wipro Ltd chief features in Business Week's "30 Greatest Entrepreneurs of all Time" list Archived 5 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Azim Premji awarded by E. (22 October 2006). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  26. ^ Roth on Wesleyan » Blog Archive » Studying Abroad. (8 January 2010). Retrieved on 12 November 2011.
  27. ^ "Mysore varsity doctorate for Premji, Bhyrappa, Nagathihalli Chandrashekar".
  28. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Padma Awards Announced" (Press release). Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  30. ^ "India's 50 powerful people". India Today. 14 April 2017.
  31. ^ "Meet Azim Premji, the wipro founder who donated 39% of his shares to a charitable trust". Business Insider. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Forbes Asia names Azim Premji Asia's most generous philanthropist". Forbes India. 4 December 2019.
  33. ^ Azim Premji Foundation. Azim Premji Foundation. Retrieved on 28 July 2013.
  34. ^ Arnab Paul (13 March 2019). "Wipro Chairman Premji pledges 34 percent of company shares for philanthropy". Bengaluru, India. Reuters. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  35. ^ "Azim Premji Foundation, NCBS, inStem ink partnership on enhanced testing for COVID-19". Deccan Herald. 18 May 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  36. ^ Network, eHealth. "Azim Premji Foundation, NCBS, InStem join hands to augment COVID-19 testing - eHealth Magazine". Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  37. ^ "Alerts on online scams and fraudulent mails". Azim Premji Foundation. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  38. ^ "Clipping of Indian Express – Chandigarh". Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  39. ^ "Azim Premji donates half of his wealth". 20 February 2013. Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  40. ^ "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.
  41. ^ "Azim Premji gives half of his stake in Wipro for charity". The Hindu. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  42. ^ "Wipro's Azim Premji gives 18% of his stake in company for charity". Hindustan Times. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  43. ^ Chung, Grace. "Asia's 2019 Heroes Of Philanthropy: Catalysts For Change". Forbes. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  44. ^ "Why India's rich don't give their money away". BBC News. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2020.

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