Chennai: Azim H Premji, founder of $8.5-billion IT major Wipro, will retire as the Executive Chairman by July-end. His son and Chief Strategy Officer Rishad Premji till take over as the head of the company.
Premji, who turns 74 next month, have been leading the company for 53 years, Wipro said in a statement. Premji will continue to serve on the board as a non-executive director for five years till July 2024 and has also been conferred the title of Founder Chairman.
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Abidali Z Neemuchwala will be re-designated as CEO and Managing Director, while Rishad Premji will be re-appointed as Whole-time Director for five years with effect from July 31.
Premji is credited with transforming a small company producing hydrogenated cooking oil to a $8.5 billion global tech firm. Wipro Enterprises also grew to a global FMCG, infrastructure engineering and medical devices producer with revenues of about $2 billion.
However, what makes Premji, the second richest person in the country, stand apart is his philanthropic activities. About 34 per cent of shares held by companies controlled by Premji are earmarked to the Azim Premji Foundation, taking the total donations to over Rs 1.4 lakh crore. Premji's Foundation works towards improving education in over 3.5 lakh schools in seven states. It also provides financial grants to other not-for-profit organisations. In March this year, he gifted an additional Rs 52,750 crore of the company's shares to support philanthropic activities--the most generous donation in the nation's history. A recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards, Premji now plans to devote more time for philanthropic activities.
As Ashok S Ganguly, Independent Director and Chairman, Board Governance, Nomination and Compensation Committee, at Wipro puts it, Premji's "unflinching commitment" to values made him an exemplar of how business and ethics can and must go together. "His exceptional generosity makes him one of the greatest philanthropists of our time," he said.
Rishad Premji has been a member of Wipro’s board since May 2015. As the Chief Strategy Officer, he has led Wipro's M&A strategy and conceptualised Wipro Ventures, a $100-million fund to invest in start-ups developing technologies and solutions that will complement Wipro's businesses with next-generation services and products.
Rishad has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University. Prior to joining Wipro in 2007, he was with Bain & Company in London. He also worked with GE Capital in the US across businesses in the insurance and consumer lending space and is a graduate of GE's Financial Management Program....