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Azim Premji

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Azim Premji

Azim Premji at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2007

July 24, 1945 (age 65)
Mumbai, India
Residence Bangalore, India[1]
Stanford University (dropped out in 1966,
Alma mater
completed in 1999)[1]
Occupation Chairman of Wipro
Net worth ▲US$17.0 billion (2010)[2]
Religion Muslim
Spouse(s) Yasmeen Premji
Children 2[3]

Azim Hashim Premji (Gujarati: અઝીમ પેમજ) (born July 24, 1945), is an Indian business
tycoon, philanthropist, and chairman of Wipro Limited, a group company that holds
Wipro Technologies, one of India's largest software development companies. According
to Forbes, he is currently the second richest Indian with a personal wealth of US$17
billion in 2010.[4][5]. In 2000, he was voted among the 20 most powerful men in the world
by Asiaweek. He was also among the 50 richest people in the world from 2001 to 2003
according to Forbes.[6] In April 2004, he was rated among the 100 most influential people
in the world by Time magazine. His assets include 74% of Wipro. Wipro Limited, which
dealt in hydrogenated cooking fats along with consumer products, grew from a company
of US $2.5 million to a giant of $1.4 billion under Premji's leadership. Wipro
Technologies, one of its group companies, is one of India's largest software companies
and is ranked among the top 100 technology companies globally.[7] Premji is also often
known as the Indian Bill Gates.[8][9]

• 1 Personal life
• 2 Honours and awards
• 3 Azim Premji Foundation
• 4 See also
• 5 References

• 6 External links

[edit] Personal life

Premji was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, to a Gujarati Khoja Shia Ithna asheri
Muslim family. 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.[10] 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 at the age of 21 to take
over the family business when his father, M.H. Premji, suddenly died in 1966. He has
since after a gap of over thirty years completed his degree in Electrical Engineering.[11]

When Azim Premji occupied the hot seat, Wipro dealt in hydrogenated cooking fats and
later diversified to bakery fats, ethnic ingredient based toiletries, hair care soaps, baby
toiletries, lighting products, and hydraulic cylinders. Thereafter Premji made a focused
shift from soaps to software.[12] The Amalner-based vanaspathi manufacturing company,
the Western India Vegetable Product later became Wipro Products Ltd, Wipro
Technologies and Wipro Corporation. Under Premji’s leadership Wipro embarked on an
ambitious phase of expansion and diversification. The Company began manufacturing
light bulbs with General Electric and other consumer products including soaps, baby care
products, shampoos, powder etc. In 1975, Wipro Fluid Power business unit
manufacturing hydraulic cylinders and truck tippers was started. But Premji’s ambitions
did not stop there. In the 1980s Wipro entered the IT field, taking advantage of the
expulsion of IBM from the Indian market in 1975. Thus, Wipro became involved in
manufacturing computer hardware, software development and related items, under a
special license from Sentinel. 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.[11]
Premji is married to Yasmeen, the couple have two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is
married to Aditi.

Premji is known for his modesty and frugality in spite of his wealth. 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 honouring his son's

[edit] Honours and awards

Premji has been recognized by Business Week as one of the Greatest Entrepreneurs[14]
for being responsible for Wipro emerging as one of the world’s fastest growing

In 2000, he was conferred an honorary doctorate by the Manipal Academy of Higher


As on March 9, 2010, he was one of the wealthiest people in India, with a net worth of
$17 billion.[15]

He was awarded a Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.), an honorary degree, from the Aligarh
Muslim University on the 18th of June, 2008 on the occasion of 58th Convocation
Ceremony of the University.

In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan University in

Middletown, Connecticut for his outstanding philanthropic work.[16]

[edit] Azim Premji Foundation

The Azim Premji Foundation says it "Aims at making a tangible impact on identified
social issues by working in active partnership with the Government and other related
sectors of society". The Foundation was set up with financial resources contributed by
Azim Premji.

Programmes of the Azim Premji Foundation focus on "creating effective and scalable
models that significantly improve the quality of learning in the school and ensure
satisfactory ownership by the community in the management of the school". Azim Premji
Foundation says it "dedicates itself to the cause of Universalization of Elementary
Education in India"[citation needed]. The organisation has over the years been instrumental in
improving the quality of general education, particularly in rural schools[citation needed].

Citing a technology initiative, the Foundation reported: "Think of a single PC with three
display terminals, three keyboards and three 'mouses', which can be simultaneously used
as if they are three independent computers"[citation needed].
Five new titles of educational CDs for Indian schools were produced earlier in 2005.
They are:

• Friendly Animals and Journey on the Clouds (English)

• Swatantra Divas
• Fun with Chinchoo in Mathematics
• Khel-Mel (Hindi), released in February 2005.

With these, the total number of master titles available is 70[citation needed].

There are now 68 titles in Karnataka, 42 for Andhra Pradesh, 35 for Tamil Nadu and
Pondicherry, 18 for Urdu medium schools, six for Orissa, 14 for Gujarat, 3 for Punjab
and 1 for Kerala.

This Foundation is also involved in computer-based assessment in Andhra Pradesh

(50,000 students took part in early 2005), a learning guarantee programme, and a policy
planning unit in Karnataka.

[edit] See also

• List of billionaires

[edit] References
1. ^ a b "The World's Billionaires #83 Azim Premji". November 3,
people_Azim-Premji_1UFS.html. Retrieved 7 December 2009.
2. ^ Forbes topic page on Azim Premji Accessed May 2010
3. ^ "What you didn't know about Rishad Premji". Rediff. June 7, 2007. Retrieved 7 December
4. ^ Forbes topic page on Azim Premji Accessed May 2010
5. ^ "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. March 3, 2009.
Premji_1UFS.html. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
6. ^ Forbes topic page on Azim Premji Accessed May 2010
7. ^
8. ^ "Azim Premji is India's Bill Gates: Forbes". Economic Times. March 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-
9. ^ "Premji is India's Bill Gates: Forbes". Times of India. March 3, 2009.
Bill-Gates-Forbes/articleshow/5882117.cms?flstry=1. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
10. ^
11. ^ a b
12. ^
13. ^ Hawkins, Asher (November 14, 2007). "The Frugal Billionaires". Forbes.
cz_ah_1114frugalbillies.html. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
14. ^ Wipro chief features in Business Week's "30 Greatest Entrepreneurs of all
Time" list
15. ^ "Technology's Richest Billionaires". Forbes. March 9, 2010.
16. ^ [1]

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