Azim Hasham PREMJI

Primary Position Chairman Age 70
Primary Company Wipro Birthday 24 Jul 1945
Estimated Net Worth At least $16.2 billion Residences Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Alibaug, Maharashtra, India
Source Inheritance/Self-made
Hometown
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Religion Muslim
Ethnicity South Asian
Alternative Names Marital Status Married

Biography

Father Mohamed H. Hasham Premji founded Western India Vegetable Products in 1945. The company was focused on producing hydrogenated vegetable oils and fats. He took the company public on the Bombay Stock Exchange in 1946. He died in 1966. Azim Hasham Premji: After his father's death in 1966, he dropped out from Stanford University to join Western India Vegetable Products at the age of 21. In 1968, he became the Chairman, CEO and Managing Director. He diversified the company's products to soaps, baby care products, shampoos and powder. In 1977, Western Indian Vegetable Products was renamed Wipro. In 1981, the company entered into the IT sector. From 1985 to 1999, Wipro expanded to three divisions, Wipro Products, Wipro Technologies and Wipro Corporation engaging in software exports, healthcare, telecommunications, enterprise resource planning and data communications. In 2000, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2009, he handed over daily operations to the Co-CEOs. In 2013, the non-IT businesses were spun off into a separate privately-held entity, Wipro Enterprises, which comprises Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting (WCCLG) and Wipro Infrastructure Engineering (WIN). Premji currently serves as the Chairman of Wipro and serves as the Non-Executive Chairman of Wipro Enterprises. Premji is also a generous philanthropist who donated half of his stake in Wipro to his Azim Premji Foundation, which primarily supports education and health causes in India.

Education History

Institution Name Qualification Name Education Type Start Date End Date
Stanford University Bachelor's degree Undergraduate 1998 1999
Stanford University Dropped Out Undergraduate 1964 1966
St. Mary's School Diploma High School

Interesting Facts

Speaking of lessons learnt over the years, he said, "The first thing I have learnt is that we must always begin with our strengths. The second lesson I have learnt is that a Rupee earned is of far more value than five found. The third lesson I have learnt is that no one bats a hundred every time. Life has many challenges. You win some and lose some. You must enjoy winning. The fourth lesson I have learnt is the importance of humility. The fifth lesson I learnt is that we must always strive for excellence. The sixth lesson I have learnt is never give up in the face of adversity. The seven lesson I have learnt is that while you must be open to change, & do not compromise on your values. And the final lesson learnt is that we must have faith in our own ideas even if everyone tells us that we are wrong."
He is a Member of the Indo-UK and the Indo-France CEOs' forum.
He dropped out of Stanford University in 1966 when his father suddenly passed away. He says, "My father died at the age of 51, when I was a student at Stanford University. As the male head of the family, I had to rush back home. At 21, I was appointed chief executive of the small company he'd formed, Western India Vegetable Products. I thought I could still graduate, but I got too sucked into the business. At the first shareholders' meeting, someone stood up and said: 'Young man, my strong advice is that you sell your shares to a more mature holder. There's no way you can run a complex company like this.' I was nervous, but I held on." He eventually received his Bachelor's degree by taking correspondence courses to complete the requirements in Electrical Engineering 30 years later. He says, "About 15 years back, I got tired of being a dropout. I petitioned the engineering committee at Stanford to allow me to finish the remaining 21 or so credits by correspondence. They agreed. It probably took me about 300 hours to complete the course work over four or five months, but I was determined not to take time away from the company. I would work very early in the morning, late at night, and on weekends. I wasn't sure I had made the grade. But when a senior electrical engineering professor at Stanford contacted me to say I had, it felt so satisfying to know an incomplete job was now complete. I put the degree in my office."
His grandfather, also an entrepreneur, was called the "Rice King of Burma."
Premji is known to live a modest, frugal lifestyle, where he reportedly flies economy class, prefers to stay at budget hotels instead of luxury hotels, drove a Ford Escort for eight years before upgrading to a Toyota Corolla and prefers to walk to work. He is often spotted wearing shirts with the company logo embellished on the pocket. At his son Rishad Premji's wedding, all guests were reportedly served food on paper plates.
Over the years, Premji has won several accolades including: "Sir M. Visvesvaraya Memorial Award" by Visvesvaraya Technological University in 2000; "Business Man Of The Year award" by Business India in 2000; "Business Leader of the year" by Economic Times in 2004; listed amongst the "100 most influential people in the world" by Time magazine in 2004 and 2011; "Padma Bhushan" by the Government of India in 2005; "Faraday Medal" in 2005; "Legion of Honor" by The Republic of France in 2011; "Padma Vibhushana" by the Government of India in 2011; "Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year" by Forbes in 2012; "Asian Business Leaders Award" for his service to society and his business credentials, by Asia House in July 2013; "Sir Jehangir Gandhy Medal for Industrial and Social Peace" by XLRI, Jamshedpur, India; and "Global Vision" award by The US-India Business Council. Wesleyan University, Indian Institute of Technology, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Aligarh Muslim University and Visvesvaraya Technological University have all conferred him with honorary doctorates, while the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers presented him with an Honorary Fellowship. In December 2014, Premji received the "Swiss Ambassador's Award" for inspirational and social responsible leadership. The award was presented in a ceremony held in Mumbai, India. He was given the award for his commitment towards his values and his firm belief in success in a business comes eventually but inevitably.
In 2013, Premji signed the Giving Pledge, initiated by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, promising to donate the majority of his wealth to charity. He said, "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."
As of July 2015, Premji has donated half of his stake in his information technology services, consulting and outsourcing services firm, Wipro. He transferred a total of 39% of Wipro stake to his Azim Premji Foundation, worth a total value of approximately $8 billion.
In September 2015, Premji and Rohini Nilekani, the Chairman of Arghyam, reportedly announced to launch a trust called The Independent and Public Spirited Media Trust that will help fund independent and socially committed media ventures in India.
Premji is known to be a straight forward person, expects competency from his employees and does not put up with lies, deception, bribery or corruption. In the late 1980s, a bureaucrat from a government-owned power utility asked for a bribe to supply power to Wipro's facilities. Premji not only refused to pay the bribe, he ended up spending 150 times the bribe money to build a captive power plant. His mantra has been "integrity is non-negotiable". He says, "Don't do anything that you're unwilling to have published in tomorrow's newspaper with your photograph next to it."
Premji has said that his sons may not inherit his Wipro empire and that they must first prove they are worthy. In a recent interview he said, "Rishad is not going to be the chief executive officer, that's not the career plan for him but, he would be representing ownership obviously."

Interests, Passion, Hobbies

Hobby Name Description
Music Enjoys listening to Hindi vocal music.
Art Reportedly an art connoisseur; likes collecting sculptures. Said, "I buy art for the company as well, and they are placed in all our centers."
Education Speaking of the importance of education, he says, "Through the years, I have had the privilege of interacting with thousands of ordinary people who did extraordinary things and overcame insurmountable odds. The more I got to know these people, who came from every walk of life, every kind of economic and social background imaginable, I grew deeply convinced about the singular power of Education especially in the developing world, where not all have equal access to a quality Education. Convinced as I am about the critical importance of Education, it was only natural that I direct all my personal philanthropy towards this end."
Outdoors - Hiking Reportedly enjoys hiking.
Philanthropy Premji is a generous philanthropist. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Azim Premji Foundation. In 2010, he transferred $2 billion worth of Wipro stock to the foundation, a further $2.2 billion in 2013 and another $3.8 billion in 2015.
Sports - Cricket Was fond of playing cricket in his younger days.
Animals - Dogs Is reportedly fond of dogs.
Outdoors - Running/Jogging He likes jogging. Prefers to walk to work.
Technology Speaking of his most important gadget, he says, "My Garmin personal GPS, useful for when I go trekking in the forest. I've got lost five times."
Film His favorite movie is "Slumdog Millionaire."
Reading His favorite book is "The Enchantress of Florence," by Salman Rushdie.
Vehicles - Cars Premji owns several cars such as a Ford Escort, a Mercedes Benz and Honda City. He sold his silver Toyota Corolla for a Benz.
Travel Likes vacationing in southern India.
Luxury Lifestyle Maintains a villa in Bangalore, India and a holiday home in Alibaug, India.

Philanthropy

Giving Profile
Generous philanthropic donor. Lifetime giving exceeds $8 billion. Founder and Chairman of the Azim Premji Foundation, which primarily supports education and health related causes. In 2001, he started the foundation earmarking Wipro shares worth $125 million. The foundation works on reforming India's examination system benefiting 20,000 schools and 2.7 million children. Its initiatives include: Teacher Education, where they worked with more than 50,000 government school teachers across eight states of India; the Education Leadership and Management Program, where they developed about 3,500 education functionaries in Karnataka, India; changed examination pattern in five Indian states in 2002; initiated the Computer Aided Learning program to support computer technology for education in 18 languages; and established Azim Premji University, a nonprofit university in Bangalore, India, to award degrees in teacher training. Founder of the Wipro Equity Reward Trust, which allows Wipro employees to acquire equity stakes in Wipro. Also set up Wipro's Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund and donated more than $300,000 for the needy and affected citizens of Gujarat, India. In 2010, Premji donated Wipro shares worth $2 billion to his foundation. He signed the Giving Pledge to donate the majority of his wealth to charity. In 2013, he donated an additional $2.2 billion in Wipro shares to the Azim Premji Foundation. In July 2015, he donated another 18% of his stake in Wipro to the trust totaling his lifetime giving at 39% of his Wipro stake, valued at approximately $8 billion.

Clubs & Boards

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Known Associates

Total known associates: 25. Total known associates net worth: $105.8 billion. To view details, sign up for Wealth-X Professional or Contact Us.

Family Details

Political Interests

Party Affiliation Unknown Political Profile Premji is a Member of the Prime Minister's Councils for National Integration and for Trade and Industry in India. It is not clear which political party or philosophy, if any, Premji supports.