- Azim Premji was born on 24 July 1945 in Mumbai. He was born into Nizari Ismaili Shia Muslim family with origins from Kutch in Gujarat.
- His father M.H. Hasham Premji was the founder of Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd. The company produced vanaspati, a ghee processed from vegetable oils. His father was a noted businessman and was known as Rice King of Burma.
- After partition, when Jinnah invited his father Muhammed Hashem Premji to come to Pakistan, he turned down the request and chose to remain in India.
- He did his schooling from St. Mary School.
- After completing his schooling he went to Stanford university to study engineering.
- However in 1966, his father died before he could complete his study. Premji left engineering and returned back to India to take control of the family business.
Azim Premji Professional Life
- In 1977, he changed the name of the company to Wipro. He immediately expanded and diversified the company by venturing into consumer products such as shoes, soaps, light bulbs and hydraulic cylinders.
- Two years later, government policies forced IBM to move out of India. Premji used the opportunity to diversify further by moving into the computer business.
- He established many successful international partnerships to help Wipro build computer hardware for sale in India.
- However, it was software development that the company found more beneficial. Rest is history.
- Azim Premji is married to Yasmeen and they have two children, Tariq and Rishad.
- Rishad is presently working as Chief Strategy Strategy Officer in the IT branch of Wipro.
- Wipro’s value became very high in the late 1990s, and he became one of the richest people in the world, a position he holds to this day.
- Premji believes that education is the key to growth. Soon, he established the nonprofit Azim Premji Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to improve the quality of elementary education in rural areas.
Later Life- Recognition & Awards
- Premji donated US $2 billion to his foundation in 2010.
- Since 2006, Premji has been a director of the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India.
- He received the Padma Vibhushan and the ‘Légion of d´honneur’ in 2011.
- Azim Premji completed his university degree after nearly 33 years through a distance-learning arrangement.
- Premji was the first Indian recipient of the Faraday Medal, awarded by the Institute of Physics.