Azim Hashim Premji, famously known as Azim Premji is one of the leading businessmen in India. He took responsibility of the multinational IT consulting and system Integration service company ‘Wipro Limited’ almost half a century ago. Since then, the company has ever been witnessing expansion, innovation and success. Azim Premji through his sheer intelligence has led the company to one of the most successful IT related company in the world.
Azim Premji was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), on 24th July, 1945. His father Hasham Premji was one of the famous and successful business entrepreneurs at the time. So Azim Premji enjoyed a privileged childhood and education. Few years before the partition of India, Hasham founded the ‘Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd.’ which produced famous ‘Vanaspati’.
The newly found company brought greater fortune to Hasham Premji and his family. Azim Premji on the other hand, had been very intelligent and sincere student throughout his academic career. But unfortunately, he couldn’t complete his education. In 1966, his father’s unexpected death brought him back from his engineering study in Stanford University of U.S.A, to take over the family business.
It is said that, greatness comes from resistance. Azim Premji didn’t break down. He calmly took over the business left by his father and at once started to make quick and effective change. He started the diversification of the business and began producing consumer products like soap, shoe, lightbulbs etc.
By 1977, Hasham’s company had witnessed some radical changes by his son Azim Premji, with the biggest ones still to come. He renamed the company Wipro. In the following years, Wipro transformed itself from its root. When Indian government asked IBM to leave the country in 1979, Azim Premji had foreseen immense opportunity lying ahead his company. He unexpectedly, not to mention, successfully as well, steered his company toward computer business and built successful international partnership by 80s to let Wipro produce computer hardware itself. Nevertheless, Wipro’s real success came from software business.
Azim Premji was a man of great vision and thought. He knew where to invest his money and time. He started to hire well educated natives for software development. He spent a great deal of money in training his employees well. He also earned reputation of hiring the most intelligent and deserving people through tough and transparent selection with the best possible remuneration. His company also had fame for ethical transparency.
Wipro primarily built custom software for export in America. Its value increased tremendously during the 90s decade, thanks to the technological advancement of the world. This made Azim Premji one of the biggest emerging entrepreneurs in the world, a position that he cemented later in 21st century. In the following years, he completed his degree from Stanford long after through distance learning arrangement. Famous business magazine Business Week hailed Azim Premji and his company’s success. As on 2015, Wipro’s market capitalization stood to whooping $ 35 billion. Its business has spread to more than 67 countries, making it one of the largest IT firms in the world.
Despite being one of the richest men in the world, Azim Premji never craved for glamor. He has always continued to be known for his benevolence, modesty, down to earth mentality and lack of extravagance. He has always dreamt to improve quality of education in rural areas. For this purpose, he established Azim Premji Foundation in 2001, a non-profit organization to help in improving elementary education in rural areas. This foundation has provided computer aided education in more than 16 thousand schools in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, with myriad child-friendly programs and contents.
For all those philanthropic works, Azim Premji has won enormous awards and honorary degrees in his life. Most remarkable of them are from Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Wesleyan University of Connecticut. In 2005, Azim Premji was honored with the third highest civilian award of India, the Pdma Bhushan by the then president of India, Pratibha Patil. He was also awarde the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award by the Government of India, in 2011 for his eminent work in IT sector and trade. Several international magazines have featured him in the list of world’s most influential businessmen.
Azim Premji is married to Yasmeen Premji, who is also a successful businesswomen and philanthropist. The couple has 2 sons Tariq and Rishad. Elder son Rishad Premji has already begun to involve in his father’s business and look after things. And Azim Premji? He is still as young and energetic as ever and has been an inspiration for India’s new generation entrepreneurs.