Azim Premji, a graduate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, USA, has been at the helm of Wipro Limited since the late 1960s, turning what was then a $2 million hydrogenated cooking fat company into close to $8.5 billion Revenue IT, BPO and R&D Services organization with a presence in 58 countries. Other companies of the Wipro group led by Premji, have revenues of close to $2 billion, spanning successful businesses across consumer goods, precision engineering and healthcare systems.
Premji has been driven by one fundamental business idea – to build an organization deeply committed to Values with the Client as the focus of all efforts. Unflinching commitment to Values continues to remain at the core of Wipro. Premji strongly believes that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things when organized into highly charged teams.
Wipro’s success has been driven by its cutting-edge expertise in technology and understanding of global industries, which deliver real business value to its clients innovatively and consistently. This innovation and consistency is driven by its pioneering efforts in technology, service quality and predictability.
Premji firmly believes that businesses have a deep responsibility to employ ethical, fair and ecologically sensitive business practices, and also to actively engage with fundamental societal issues. Wipro’s deep and focused social and environmental initiatives span the countries across its operational footprint, leading to Wipro being recognized as a global leader in Sustainability.
In 2001, Premji established the Azim Premji Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, with a vision of enhancing quality and equity in the public school education system in India, to build a better society. The Foundation works in 7 states of India which have over 350,000 schools. It also runs the Azim Premji University, which is focused on teaching and research programs in Education and other areas of Human Development. Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives supports not-for-profits, through financial grants, which work in areas of human development complementing education, such as nutrition, local governance, and well-being of vulnerable groups. Premji’s donations to the endowment of the Foundation, at USD 15 Billion, make it one of the largest Foundations in the world.
Over the years, Azim Premji has received numerous honors and accolades, which he considers as recognitions for the team of Wipro and the Foundation. BusinessWeek listed him amongst the top 30 entrepreneurs in world history. Financial Times, Time, Fortune and Forbes have all named him as of one the most influential people in the world, citing his leadership in business and philanthropy, including the contributions to improving public education. The Journal of Foreign Policy has listed him amongst the top global thinkers. Economic Times bestowed Mr. Premji with the Life Time Achievement Award.
Premji is the first Indian recipient of the Faraday Medal and has been conferred with honorary doctorates by the Michigan State University and Wesleyan University (in the US), and the Indian Institutes of Technology at Bombay, Roorkee and Kharagpur amongst others. The Republic of France has conferred upon him their highest civilian award, “Knight of the Legion of Honor”. He was conferred in January 2011 with the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in India. The Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy was bestowed on him in 2017, hailing the “conscience, integrity, and compassion that have guided his visionary giving…….(with) invaluable benefit to both that nation and to the world.”