Wipro’s founder – Azim Premji will be stepping down from the position of chairman and the managing director of the company on July 31. Premji had founded and built the company from the ground up and has worked there for almost 50 years. At 74-years of age the MD of the company will be giving up his executive functions as chairman but he will still remain on the board of directors of the company.
After Premji, Wipro will be led by his eldest son Rishad Premji who is already a board of member of the company. Rishad Premji will be taking over as the Chairman of Wipro while the CEO Abidali Neemuchwala will become the Managing Director as well. All the changes of positions and powers will be taking place once Azim Premji retires on July 31.
Azim Premji is also a philanthropist and is one of the most generous donors among India’s industrialists. Back in March 2019, he pledged that 34% of his shares at Wipro will be given to Azim Premji Foundation. His foundation primarily focusses on education and will be taking 67% of his wealth which is Rs 1.45 lakh crore.
“It has been a long and satisfying journey for me. As I look into the future, I plan to devote more time to focus on our philanthropic activities,” said Azim Premji, winner of ET’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
As mentioned above, Azim Premji will still be remaining in the board of directors of Wipro, and he will still remain the chairman of Wipro Enterprises and will still be in the board of Wipro GE Healthcare. He said that the company was started by his father Hasham Premji and according to him, he contributed by expanding the existing product range and the diversification of the company after his father.
Wipro was originally Western India Vegetable Products Ltd. and it had edible oils as its main products. At that time, the company was located in Amalner, Maharashtra. After Azim Premji’s takeover on Wipro after his father’s death he diversified the business. He then focussed on making Wipro a technology venture which worked both on hardware and software. The hardware part of Wipro died down but the software part thrived and it helped Wipro to rise and become one of the top-most software and IT companies of India. In 2018, Wipro generated a total of $8.5 billion in the annual revenue. Wipro Enterprises, which looks after the consumer goods and the infrastructure engineering and medical devices business, generated a total of $2 billion last year.
In 2019, Azim Premji won a special ET Award for philanthropy and in 2006 his Azim Premji Foundation won the ET Corporate Citizen Award.
“We thank Azim for his vision, outstanding leadership and years of extraordinary contribution towards building Wipro and the Indian IT industry. His unflinching commitment to values makes him an exemplar of how business and ethics, can and must go together. His exceptional generosity makes him one of the greatest philanthropists of our time,” said Ashok S Ganguly, independent director and chairman, board governance, nomination and compensation committee, Wipro Ltd.
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