Second richest Indian and Wipro's founder Azim Premji to retire

Last Updated: Thu, Jun 06, 2019 19:11 hrs

Bengaluru: It's official! Wipro founder and second richest Indian Azim Premji is set to retire on July 30. Wipro, the global software major revealed on Thursday that Premji was stepping down

"Our founder Azim Premji will retire as the Executive Chairman upon the completion of his current term on July 30 and his eldest son Rishad will take over from him as the company's top executive on July 31," the company said in a statement.

Premji post his departure will continue as the Founder Chairman of Wipro and will also remain as a non-executive Director for a period of five years. His eldest son Rishad Premji will step in his shoes as the Chairman of Wipro from July 31. Chief Executive Officer Abidali Z Neemuchwala [unrelated to the Premji's] will take over as Managing Director of Wipro and will also continue as its CEO.

Born on 24th July 1945, Premji has been a major inspiration for the Indian software and services industry. His company Wipro set many firsts including ones on overseas expansion.

Premji's significant contributions not only helped Wipro become a $8.5 billion [Gross revenue for year ending March 31, 2019] global behemoth, but it also took India to the centrestage of the the global technology and outsourcing industry map. Wipro has been one of the flagship companies in India's $150 billion IT sector.

Wipro an abbreviation for Western India Products, did not have its roots in technology but in vegetable oil. Azim Premji's father Mohammed Premji started 'Western India Vegetable Products Limited' in 1945 in Amalner in Maharashtra. Further expansions were fuelled by Azim Premji.

In a statement, the 73 year old said, "I wish to thank generations of Wiproites and their families for their contribution towards building our company to what it is today."

"It has been a long and satisfying journey for me. As I look into the future, I plan to devote more time to focus on our philanthropic activities," he added.

Premji also remained a role-model for India Inc on the philanthropy circuit. An Indiaspend story said that as on Mar'19, Premji had given away 34% or as much as $7.5 billions worth of his shares in Wipro to philanthropic causes.

According to the Bain Philanthropy Report 2019, Premji single-handedly made up for 80% of the large contributions (more than Rs 10 crores) by individuals since 2014.

Even as India's richest were reportedly growing richer, the poorer remained poor. That implication driven out of Oxfam India's latest research contrasts when compared to Premji's contributions to programs concerning social causes.

In a statement made to the exchange houses on Thursday, the Wipro group said that the Azim Premji Foundation and other related entities, were responsible for extensive philanthropic work in India. "The work spans from deep-on-the-ground efforts focused on improving public school education, working directly in seven states of India which have over 350,000 schools, to running the not-for-profit Azim Premji University, which is focused on programs in education and related fields of human development, and providing support through multi-year financial grants to other not-for-profit organizations working in specific areas such as reduction of child stunting, improvement of local governance and alleviation of the conditions of the most vulnerable groups," the note added.

With the Czar of Wipro officially hanging his boots and joining peers such as Narayana Murthy of Infosys, we hope the next-generation at Wipro takes the company to newer heights amid a period of change marred by constantly changing technology, automation and trade-wars.