Azim Premji Biography
Azim Premji factsheet
|Born on||24 July 1945|
|Place of Birth||Mumbai, India|
|Educated from||Stanford University|
|Valued at||US $ 19.1 billion|
About Azim PremjiBorn on 24 July 1945, Azim Premji is one of the instantly recognizable faces in the Indian business industry. Apart from being a business tycoon, he is the Chairman of Wipro and a
Azim Premji's FamilyAzim Premji was born in Mumbai on 24 July 1945. He is a Gujarati Muslim and his family is originally from Kutch. His father Mohamed Hashem Premji was a famous businessman in his time and was also referred to as the ‘Rice King of Burma’. When India was partitioned, Muhammad Ali Jinnah – the founding father of Pakistan – had invited Premji’s father to stay over there. However, this request was turned down by Mohamed Premji. Azim Premji is married to Yasmeen Premji and they have two sons – Tariq and Rishad. Rishad is currently working as the Chief Strategy Officer for the IT business activities of Wipro.
Education of Azim PremjiAzim Premji obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. This is almost equal in importance to a graduate degree in engineering in India.
Azim Premji's CareerPremji’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 come back home to take charge of his father’s company, which had been started in 1945. At that time, Wipro was working out of a small town in Maharashtra named Amalner and dealt in Sunflower Vanaspati, a cooking oil brand, and 787, a laundry soap that was the byproduct of cooking oil production.
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. Thanks to his visionary capabilities, he was able to understand the potential of information technology in the 1980s.
At that time, there was a significant gap in the IT market in India when IBM was shown the door. So, Premji changed the name of his company to Wipro and started to make microcomputers so as to gain entry into the sector for high technology products. In this project, he collaborated with Sentinel Computer Corporation, an American organization. Very soon, he made a complete shift from fast moving consumer goods to the technology industry.
NGOs and Foundations Opened by Azim PremjiThe life and times of Azim Premji are testament to the fact that he believes in giving back to the society in a meaningful manner and help it go ahead. In that vein, he has opened a number of charitable institutions and NGOs over the years. He has also taken part in some key charitable initiatives.
Azim Premji FoundationThe Azim Premji Foundation was established in 2001 and is a major part of the philanthropic work done by Premji. It is a not-for-profit entity and its main aim is to come up with contributions that can help in realizing a level of universal education, which, in turn, will lead to a society that has values like justice, equality, humanity and sustainability at its core. The basic area of work of the foundation is elementary education.
Through its work in this sensitive area of education in India, the Azim Premji Foundation is attempting to come up with proofs of concept that can change the very system in which the government-owned schools operate in India. The emphasis is on improving the quality of education on offer and bringing the schools at par with the best schools across the country. Most of these schools are in the rural area and this is where the foundation has been focusing to a significant extent. It currently functions in the states mentioned below:
- Andhra Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
Azim Premji TrustDuring December 2010, Premji promised to provide 2 billion dollars for making school education in the country better than what it was. He transferred equity shares – amounting to 213 million in number – from his company to the Azim Premji Trust. This is supposed to be the biggest ever educational donation in the country.
Azim Premji UniversityThe Azim Premji University was set up as per an act passed by the legislative assembly of Karnataka. Its main aim is to conceive and execute programmes that can help in the development of the overall educational scenario as well as a well-trained workforce. It also attempts to provide substitute models for changing the educational scenario. The university also puts in money in educational research with the end aim of widening the horizon of educational thoughts in India.
Participation in The Giving PledgeThe Giving Pledge is a campaign, a brainchild of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Its primary aim is to provide encouragement to rich people to come forward and commit a part of their riches to philanthropic activities. Azim Premji is the first Indian to have signed up for the programme. In fact, he is the third person from outside the United States of America – he is preceded by David Sainsbury and Richard Branson - to have become a part of this initiative. As of April 2013, Premji has donated at least 25% of his personal wealth to the said charity.
Awards and Recognition won by Azim PremjiOver his illustrious career, Azim Premji has received a lot of honour and respect and been conferred with many awards. Business Week has hailed him as one of the 30 Greatest
Manipal University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate during 2000 and six years later, the National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, conferred on him the Lakshya Business Visionary Award. The Wesleyan University of Middletown Connecticut awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2009. This was conferred as a way of appreciating the exceptional work that Premji had done in terms of philanthropy. His contributions to the world of trade and commerce were recognized when the Indian Government bestowed on him the title of Padma Bhushan in 2005. He received the Padma Vibhushan, which is the second most prestigious civilian award in India, in 2011. He also got the Economic Times Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
Last upadted on May 23, 2015