Image by Manjunath Kiran/AFP

Business tycoon Azim Premji, founder, chairman, and managing director of Wipro will step down on July 30 and his eldest son and Chief Strategy Officer Rishad Premji will succeed him as the Executive Chairman on July 31. Azim Premji is the one who turned the fate of Wipro around. What started as a cooking fat company is now a conglomerate spanning IT, energy and consumer care. Talking about the figures, Wipro Ltd had a revenue of 2-million dollars in 1966 has moved to 11 billion dollars in 2019. The company entered into technology business by making computers in 1980 after IBM withdrew its market in India. And soon Premji introduced lighting segment with CFL and into health sector with GE Healthcare. Dropped out of Stanford University at age 21 to take over Wipro, after his father’s sudden demise, Premji is the second richest person in India with an estimated net worth of US 21.5 billion dollars in May 2019.

Lives a simple life

Azim Premji is the Chairman of Wipro but he still prefers to travel in economy class. He owns a Honda City. After his well-wishers insisted him to upgrade his car, he brought a Mercedes Benz from one of his employees. He also prefers auto-rickshaws and public transports. When he is on business tours he prefers staying in company guesthouses and orders food from company canteen.

The Giving Pledge

Premji is the first Indian to sign up for 'The Giving Pledge', a campaign to encourage wealthy people to contribute a major part of their wealth to charitable causes. He is first Indian and third non-American to sign up for the cause.

34 percent of Wipro stock to charity

In 2001, Premji founded Azim Premji Foundation, a non-profit organization that works for improving school education in India. In 2010, he transferred 213 million equity shares of Wipro Ltd to the Azim Premji Trust. In March 2019, he donated 34 percent – current value of USD 7.5 billion – of Wipro stock held by him to the foundation.

Awards

· In 2005, Premji was honored with the Padma Bhushan for his outstanding work in trade and commerce by the Government of India.

· In 2011, he was honoured with Padma Vibhushan.

· In 2011, he was felicitated with ‘Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year and Legion of Honour’.

· In 2013, he was conferred with ‘Asian Business Leaders Award’, ‘Life Time Achievement Award’ and ‘Corporate Citizen of the Year’.

· In 2018, Premji was felicitated with the highest French civilian distinction by the French Government called Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour).