Entrepreneur Profile: Personal & Business
Premji was born on July 24th 1945 in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, to a Gujarati Khoja Ismaili Shia Muslim family. Azim H. Premji was born to M.H. Hasham Premji. His father M. H. Premji owned the Western India Vegetable Product Company (which later became Wipro Ltd.) which made hydrogenated vegetable oils and fats. His grandfather was the rice king of Burma. His father had declined an invitation from Muhammed Ali Jinnah to go to Pakistan. Premji attended St. Mary`s School I.C.S.E. in Mazagaon, Mumbai. While he completed his initial education at St. Mary's School, Mumbai, Premji was forced to leave his studies in electrical engineering from Stanford University, California, USA. He was just finishing his undergraduate engineering studies at Stanford University in 1966 when his father M.H. Premji, suddenly passed away at the age of 21 to take over the family business. He immediately returned to India where he took over the family`s fledgling vegetable oil business, Western Indian Vegetable Products Limited (now called Wipro). Premji started off with a simple vision: to build an organization on a foundation of values. He eventually received permission to take correspondence art courses to complete the requirements for his bachelor`s degree in Electrical Engineering. He has since after a gap of over thirty years completed his degree in Electrical Engineering. Under Premji’s leadership, the Amalner-based vanaspathi manufacturing company, the Western India Vegetable Product later became Wipro Products Ltd, Wipro Technologies and Wipro Corporation, embarked on an ambitious phase of expansion and diversification. As a result, the $1.5 million company in hydrogenated cooking fats grew within a few years to a $662 million diversified, integrated corporation in services, medical systems, technology products and consumer items with offices worldwide. The company’s IT division became the world's first to win SEI CMM level 5 and PCMM Level 5 (People Capability Maturity Model) certification, the latest in quality standards. A large percentage of the company’s revenues are generated by the IT division. Wipro works with leading global companies, such as Alcatel, Nokia, Cisco and Nortel and has a joint venture in Medical Systems with General Electric Company. Premji is known for his modesty and frugality in spite of his wealth. Premji is known for his humility and helping mentality. In the year 2001, Premji established Azim Premji Foundation, a not-for-profit organization with a vision of influencing the lives of millions of children in India by facilitating the universalisation of elementary education. Azim Premji
Azim Premji at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2007
24 July 1945 (age 65)
Stanford University (dropped out in 1966, completed in 1999)
Chairman of Wipro
▲US$17.0 billion (2010)
Ismaili Shia Islam
Premji is married to Yasmeen, leads a quiet life with his wife Yasmin Premji who had worked for ‘Inside Outside’ (editorial) in Mumbai and the couple have two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is married to Aditi and is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of IT Business, Wipro Technologies. Tariq has co-founded a dotcom and works from Bangalore. Mr. Premji who holds 78% stakes in the company does not believe in naming. He drives a Toyota Corolla and flies economy class, prefers to stay in company guest houses rather than luxury hotels and even served food on paper plates at a lunch honoring his son's wedding, travels economy class on international flights, and packs a travel iron and detergent for washing his clothes. B.
Azim Premji started his business life by seating at the hot seat of Wipro, at the first annual general meeting of the company attended by Azeem Premji, a shareholder doubted Premji's ability to...
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