Connect with us

Daily News

Premji, IT’s Marathon Man, To Call It A Day After 53 Years

In era is ending at Wipro, and for the Indian IT industry. Azim Premji, who transformed the cooking oil company his father started in 1945 into a $25 billion (Rs 1.8 lakh crore) global IT powerhouse, will retire as executive chairman on July 30.

He will turn 74 a week before that, and would have led Wipro for 53 years when he retires, having taken over the company on his father’s death in 1966.

Premji, together with Infosys’s N R Narayana Murthy and TCS’s F C Kohli, is regarded as a pioneer of the Indian IT industry, which today has revenues of $177 billion, employs more than 4 million, and is the country’s biggest export business.

Premji will be succeeded by his elder son, Rishad Premji, a Harvard Business School and London School of Economics graduate, who joined the firm in 2007 in its financial services business division. Rishad, 42, has played a variety of roles in the company, and is currently the chief strategy officer.

The Premji family owns 74.3% of the shares in the company. So Rishad’s succession was almost inevitable.

In a statement, Premji thanked “generations of Wiproites and their families for their contribution towards building” the company to what it is today. “It has been a long and satisfying journey for me. As I look into the future, I plan to devote more time to focus on our philanthropic activities,” he said.

For many years, Premji has avoided the public glare, and left all public announcements and interactions related to the company to the CEO and other top executives. His own public engagements were mostly related to his philanthropic activities, most prominently in education.

Premji’s philanthropic commitments are unprecedented in India. In March this year, he announced an increase in this commitment by Rs 52,750 crore, taking his overall commitment to his endowment to a humongous Rs 145,000 crore (67% of Wipro shares). This makes his foundation one of the biggest in the world. He was the first Indian to be a signatory to The Giving Pledge initiative started by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett, under which billionaires commit at least 50% of their wealth to philanthropy.

The Premji family continue to have voting rights on the entire 74.3% stake they hold in Wipro. But the family benefits in financial terms from only a maximum of 7% of the stake.

Premji will continue to serve on the Wipro Board as non-executive director and founder chairman, a company release said. He will also remain the chairman of Wipro Enterprises, the $2 billion entity that focuses on FMCG (with products like Santoor soap and Smartlite bulbs), and infrastructure engineering. He will also continue to chair the board of the medical devices joint venture, Wipro-GE Healthcare.

On Rishad, Wipro independent director Ashok Ganguly said his understanding of the global technology industry, strong strategic orientation and diverse leadership experience make him the right person to guide the company.―Times of India

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2024 Communications Today

error: Content is protected !!