Azim Hashim Premji – Indian businessman and one of the leading philanthropists in the world

Azim Hashim Premji 

Born 24 July 1945, Bombay (Mumbai), India (age 74)
Nationality: India
Category: Leaders
Occupation: Businessmen, IT & Software Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists.
Unique distinction: Chairman of Wipro Limited, one of the wealthiest people in Asia, the first person in India who has signed The Giving Pledge.
Height: 5’2” (1, 57 m)
Weight: 143 lbs (65 kg)
Founder: Azim Premji Foundation, Mission 10X, Azim Premji University
Religion: Shia Islam
Residence: Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Alma mater: Stanford University (B.S.E)
Net worth: 19.1 billion dollars in March 2015; US$7.2 billion October 2019.
Spouse: Yasmeen Premji
Children: Rishad Premji, Tariq Premji
1. 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.
2. Success is achieved twice. Once in the mind and the second time in the real world.
3. If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small.
4. People are the key to success or extraordinary success.
5. In our way of working, we attach a great deal of importance to humility and honesty; With respect for human values, we promise to serve our customers with integrity.
6. Leadership is the self-confidence of working with people smarter than you.
7. We invested in uncompromising integrity that helped us take difficult stands in some of the most difficult business situations.
8. Excellence can be as strong a uniting force as solid vision.
9. The three ordinary things that we often do not pay enough attention to, but which I believe are the drivers of all success, are hard work, perseverance, and basic honesty. 10. You cannot underestimate the value of luck in success in life. And I’ve really learned to appreciate that.
11. Excellence is a great starting point for any new organisation but also an unending journey.
12. Change is just everywhere. And unless you learn to cope with change, you will fall behind.

Achievements and contributions:

Social and professional position: Azim Hashim Premji is an Indian business tycoon, investor, engineer, and philanthropist, who is the chairman of Wipro Limited.
The main contribution(Best Known for):
Не is the chairman of Wipro Limited, a multinational IT Consulting and System Integration services company that is currently one of the largest IT services companies in the world. He is informally known as the Czar of the Indian IT Industry.
He is a generous billionaire and the first person in India who has signed The Giving Pledge.


He founded Wipro, an IT Consulting and System Integration service. The company provides information technology, digital strategy, outsourcing, consulting and business process services.
The company has a presence in 67 countries and has a market capitalization of approximately $ 35 billion as of March 2015.
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.
Premji has been recognized by Business Week as one of the Greatest Entrepreneurs for being responsible for Wipro emerging as one of the world’s fastest-growing companies.
Premji was the wealthiest person in the country in the six-year span of 1999 through 2005 according to Forbes.
In September 2018, Wipro won a landmark $1.6 billion, 10-year contract from Alight Solutions of Illinois. According to Forbes in April 2019 his real-time worth is around $ 22.3 B.
Premji holds 75% of the shares of his company, besides owning a private equity fund named Premjiinvest.
He is currently the tenth richest person in India with an estimated net worth of US$7.2 billion as of October 2019.
In Silicon Valley, Wipro has an innovation centre that develops new technologies and collaborates with startups.
Azim Premji founded 2010 Azim Premji University in the urban setting of the metropolis of Bangalore, Karnataka. University Azim Premji aims to give its students a holistic education with a diverse social community to engage with.
Vision: Education for Social Change. To contribute to the realisation of a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society.
Mission. Azim Premji University will create outstanding and effective programmes that –
• Prepare graduates with great competence, integrity and social commitment
• Expand the frontiers of knowledge in education, development and allied fields through research
• Support and enhance the work of the education and development sectors in the country through continuing education
• Contribute to change in policy and practice in the Indian education and development sectors through advocacy and public communication.
The university also puts money into educational research with the end aim of widening the horizon of educational thoughts in India.


Azim Premji Foundation: In 2001, he founded Azim Premji Foundation, a non-profit organization, through which he aimed to improve the quality of elementary education in rural regions throughout India. This foundation covers over 5000 rural schools across India.
By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the foundation had extended computer-aided education to more than 16,000 schools, with child-friendly content increasingly available in local languages.
Premji started with a $2.2 billion donation to the Azim Premji Foundation. In December 2010, it donated 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.
Participation in The Giving Pledge:  In 2013, he agreed to give away at least half of his wealth by signing 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 became the first Indian to sign up for The Giving Pledge, and the third non-American after Richard Branson and David Sainsbury to join this philanthropy club.
As of April 2013, Premji has donated at least 25% of his personal wealth to the said charity.
In July 2015, he gave away an additional 18% of his stake in Wipro, taking his total contribution so far to 39%.
In March 2019, Premji pledged an additional 34% of Wipro stock held by him to the foundation.
At a current value of about USD 7.5 billion, this allocation will bring the total endowment from him to the foundation to USD 21 billion. Wherein 7.5 billion dollars were donated to the fund for the development of computer technology and innovation in India.

Honours and Awards:

In 2005, he was awarded, Faraday Medal.
In 2005, the Government of India honoured him with the title of Padma Bhushan for his outstanding work in trade and commerce.
In 2011, he has been awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award by the Government of India.
In April 2017, India Today magazine ranked him 9th in India’s 50 Most powerful people of 2017 list
Honorary Doctorate
In 2000, he was conferred an honorary doctorate by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education.
In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut for his outstanding philanthropic work.
In 2015, Mysore University conferred an honorary doctorate on him.
Other Honors
TIME Magazine has twice enlisted him among the most influential 100 people in the world – first in 2004 and then in 2011
In 2006, the National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, conferred on him the Lakshya Business Visionary Award.
In 2010, he was voted among the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asiaweek.
He also got the Economic Times Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
He is a Member of the Prime Minister’s Councils for National Integration.
Major works:
Wipro, is an IT Consulting and System Integration services company that is today one of the largest IT Services firms in the World.
Azim Premji Foundation. Azim Premji University. Mission 10X.

Career and personal life:

Family background: Azim Hashim Premji was born in Bombay (Mumbai), India in a Nizari Ismaili Shia Muslim family. He is a Gujarati Muslim and his family is originally from Kutch, a district of Gujarat state in western India. Gujaratis are considered one of the most culturally and economically developed peoples of India.
His father Mohamed Hashem Premji was a noted businessman and his grandfather was known as the Rice King of Burma.
In 1945, In the year that Premji was born, Muhammed Hashim Premji founded Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd, which produced widely used hydrogenated oil and is based in Amalner, a small town in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra.
When in 1948 India was partitioned into mainly Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, invited Premji’s father to stay over there. However, he turned down the request and chose to remain in India.
Education: Premji studied at Mumbai’s St. Mary’s School, which is considered one of the Top 5 day schools in India. He has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree (equivalent to a Bachelor of Engineering degree) from Stanford University, California, USA.
In 1999, Premji officially completed his degree from Stanford through a distance-learning arrangement. This degree he had to leave in 1966.

Career highlights:

Premji’s career started in 1966 when he had to cut short his education at Stanford University upon receiving the news of his father’s demise and coming back home.
Azim Premji took control of his father’s business in 1966 when he was just 21 years old. At that, time the company, which was called Western Indian Vegetable Products, primarily dealt in hydrogenated oil manufacturing and laundry soap that was the byproduct of cooking oil.
Premji managed to diversify the company’s offerings by starting the production of bakery fat, various kinds of lights and related products, toiletries made from locally available ingredients, hydraulic cylinders, hair care soaps and toiletries for babies.
Since the company no longer dealt with just vegetable products, Premji renamed it “Wipro” in 1977.
In 1979, when the Indian government asked IBM to leave the country, he began to steer the company toward the computer business.
The young entrepreneur, recognizing the importance of the emerging IT field and entered the high-technology sector by manufacturing minicomputers under technological collaboration with another Western company.
Very soon, he made a complete shift from fast-moving consumer goods to the technology industry.
Over the 1980s, the company collaborated with several other businesses in the computer field, including an American company Sentinel Computer Corporation. Eventually, the company entered the software market too. Wipro concentrated on developing custom software for export, primarily to the United States.
Driven by the quest to achieve the highest standards of quality, Premji ensured that his company hired the best brains in software engineering. He provided them with world-class training to further hone their skills.
He took advantage of India’s large pool of well-educated software developers who were willing to work for much less money than their American counterparts.
This helped Wipro to develop high-quality software at considerably lower costs as compared to American companies, enabling Wipro to successfully export custom software to the US.
Wipro soon became one of India’s largest software exporters and the second-largest listed company in India.
Thanks to substantial increases in technology stocks, Wipro’s value skyrocketed in the late 1990s, and Premji became one of the richest entrepreneurs in the world—a position he retained well into the 21st century.

Personal life:

Azim Premji is married to Yasmeen Premji, a famous Indian businesswoman and philanthropist. The couple has two sons – Rishad and Tariq. Rishad Premji is currently working as the Chief Strategy Officer for the IT business activities of Wipro Also, he chairs the industry lobby group NASSCOM.
Despite his vast personal wealth, Premji continued to be recognized for his modest lifestyle, humane personality, lack of extravagance, and charity.
Premji has said that being rich “did not thrill” him.
Premji’s reputation remained that of a highly ethical entrepreneur whose operation served as a model for other Indian firms.
Wipro was also recognized as one of the world’s most ethical companies by the US-based Ethisphere Institute for six consecutive years.
Thanks to his creative vision, analytical capabilities and intuition, he was able to understand the potential of information technology in the 1980s.
Zest: Nick Names Bill Gates of India, the Czar of the Indian IT Industry
Favourite things:
Hiking, jogging, playing golf, watching movies; food – Dasa, cars – Ford, Toyota; businessman – Dhirubhai Ambani, Bill Gates; actors – Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan.
Premji is a talented businessman, who was able to make a rapid and focused shift from soaps to software.