Azim Premji took over the leadership of Wipro in the late 1960’s. On that kernel of a $2 million hydrogenated cooking fat business, he founded multiple businesses including what is now the $ 8.5 billion Revenue IT Services organization with a presence in 58 countries. The other businesses of the Wipro group led by Premji have now grown to about $ 2 billion in revenues, spanning across the sectors of consumer goods, precision engineering and healthcare systems. He relinquished executive responsibilities at Wipro Limited in July
2019, to focus on the philanthropic work of the Foundation. Premji is a graduate in Electrical
Engineering from Stanford University, USA.
Premji’s success in business has been driven by one fundamental idea – to build organizations 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 cutting-edge technology expertise and its understanding of global industries delivers innovation and real business value to its clients – with consistency and predictability based on pioneering efforts in service quality and operational rigor.
Premji firmly believes that businesses must employ ethical, fair and ecologically sustainable business practices, and must actively engage with fundamental societal issues. Wipro’s deep and focused, social and environmental initiatives span its world-wide 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 contributing towards a just, equitable, humane, and sustainable society. Today the Foundation’s work spans across education and other critical fields of human development & justice. The Foundation has its own large-scale organization in education, to help improve quality and equity of the public education system in India, with field operations across 7 states of the country which have over 350,000 schools. It runs the not-for-profit Azim Premji University in Bangalore and is in the process of setting up a second University in Bhopal. The Foundation also has a rapidly scaling initiative to support other not-for-profits, through financial grants, which work across other fields which contribute to equity & justice, such as gender issues, nutrition, local governance, and well-being of vulnerable groups. Premji’s donations to the endowment of the Foundation, at USD 21 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 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 bestowed upon him the “Legion of Honor”. He was conferred in January 2011 with 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.”
Yasmeen Premji (Member)
Yasmeen Premji is a Director of the Azim Premji Foundation and sits on the Board of Governors of the Azim Premji University.
Yasmeen served on the managing committees of an orphanage and a hospital when she resided in Mumbai. She was a Member of the National Committee of the Aga Khan Foundation, India, for close to sixteen years.
Yasmeen graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai in 1967, with a first class B.A. Hons Degree in Psychology, and did her Masters from Smith College, Mass. USA, in 1969.
She worked as a Personnel Supervisor in ESSO Eastern Inc for a couple of years. After obtaining a diploma in Interior Design, she joined Inside Outside, the reputed Indian architecture and Interior Magazine as Assistant Editor. Her exposure to architecture enabled Yasmeen to later design the Azim Premji Foundation office building in Bangalore.
Yasmeen Premji's debut novel ‘Days of Gold and Sepia’, published by Harpercollins India in 2012, was received with critical acclaim, and was re-published in 2019 by Amazon-Westland.
Rishad Premji (Member)
Rishad Premji is the Executive Chairman of Wipro Limited.
He was until recently the Chief Strategy Officer, responsible for shaping Wipro's strategy to drive sustained and profitable growth. Rishad was also responsible for Investor Relations and all Government relations activities for the company.
As the Chief Strategy Officer, he led Wipro’s M&A Strategy and conceptualized 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 is on the Board of Wipro Enterprises Limited, a leading player in FMCG & infrastructure engineering and Wipro-GE, a joint venture between Wipro and General Electric in the healthcare domain.
He is also on the Board of the Azim Premji Foundation, one of the largest not-for-profit initiatives in India. The Foundation, which is focused on improving public school education, works with over 350,000 government schools across seven states in India. Separately, he is also on the Board of Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives, which provides grants to organizations that contribute to social change. The Endowment of the Foundation is $21 billion.
For financial year 2018-19 (April-March), Rishad was the Chairman of NASSCOM, the trade body of India’s $180 billion information technology industry, which represents over 2800 companies. As the Chairman of NASSCOM, Rishad helped curate the future course of the industry, aligning its focus with global developments. His tenure also saw the establishment of Nasscom’s Future Skills platform, setting the tone for making skilling and reskilling of talent an imperative for the industry. India’s burgeoning IT sector accounts for near 39% of the country’s exports.
Prior to joining Wipro Limited in 2007, Rishad was with Bain & Company in London, working on assignments across consumer products, automobiles, telecom and insurance industries. He also worked with GE Capital in the US in the insurance and consumer lending space and is a graduate of GE's Financial Management Program (FMP).
Rishad has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University in the US. In 2014, he was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for his outstanding leadership, professional accomplishments, and commitment to society.
Tariq Premji (Member)
Tariq Premji is currently Vice President, Azim Premji Endowment Fund - an entity set up by Azim Premji to fund his philanthropic initiatives. As a founding team member, he has been instrumental in setting up and institutionalising the investment process of this fund. Prior to this, he was part of the founding team at PremjiInvest, the family investment office, where he now serves on the Investment Committee that oversees the management of $5 Billion in assets. Tariq is on the board of Wipro Enterprises Limited, a leading player in the FMCG & Infrastructure Engineering space with sales of ~$1B. In addition, he serves as a board member of Azim Premji Foundation, one of the largest operating philanthropic foundations in India. The Azim Premji Foundation works on improving school education working with over 350,000 schools across the country; and also runs Azim Premji University, established in 2011. Tariq has done his Bachelors in Commerce from Bangalore University.