Azim Premji- The Indian business entrepreneur

Azim Hashim Premji (born 24 July 1945) is an Indian business tycoon, investor, engineer, and philanthropist, who is the chairman of Wipro limited. He is informally known as the Czar of the Indian IT Industry. Premji has been recognised by Business Week as one of the Greatest Entrepreneurs for being responsible for Wipro emerging as one of the world's fastest growing companies. 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.Azim 

Early Life and Education

Premji was born in Bombay, India in a Muslim family. His father was a noted businessman and was known as Rice King of Burma. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, invited his father Muhammed Hashem Premji to come to Pakistan, he turned down the request and chose to remain in India

Premji has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Stanford University. He is married to Yasmeen. The couple have two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of IT Business, Wipro.


In the year that Premji was born, his father founded Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd., which produced vanaspati, a widely used hydrogenated shortening. Three years later colonial India was partitioned into mainly Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan, but the Premjis, a Muslim family, chose to remain in India. In 1966, just before Premji was to complete his degree in engineering at Stanford University, his father died unexpectedly. Postponing his graduation, he returned to India to take the reins of the family business and immediately began to diversify, delving into consumer products such as soap, shoes, and lightbulbs, as well as hydraulic cylinders.

Premji renamed the company Wipro in 1977, and in 1979, when the Indian government asked IBM to leave the country, he began to steer the company toward the computer business. Wipro established a number of successful international partnerships in the 1980s to help it build computer hardware for sale in India. It was software development, however, that made the firm so lucrative. Premji built a reputation for hiring the best people and providing them with unparalleled training, and he took advantage of India’s large pool of well-educated software developers who were willing to work for much less money than their American counterparts. Wipro concentrated on developing custom software for export, primarily to the United States.

Thanks to substantial increases in technology stocks, Wipro’s value skyrocketed in the late 1990s, and Premji became one of the richest enterprenuer in the world—a position he retained well into the 21st century. The success of both the company and its chairman was more than merely the result of outside forces’ inflating the value of the company, however. Premji had boldly broken with tradition by transforming Wipro into an information technology powerhouse with a solid footing in foreign markets at a time when most fortunes in India were based on ownership of land and factories used to produce domestically consumed goods. In 1999 Premji officially completed his degree from Stanford through a distance-learning arrangement.

Despite his vast personal wealth, Premji continued to be recognized for his modesty, lack of extravagance, and charity. In 2001 he established the nonprofit Azim Premji Foundation, through which he aimed to improve the quality of elementary education in rural regions throughout India. By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the foundation had extended computer-aided education to more than 16,000 schools, with child-friendly content increasingly available in local languages. Premji’s reputation remained that of a highly ethical entrepreneur whose operation served as a model for other Indian firms.

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.” 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.


1- Business Week has recognised Azim Premji as one of the Greatest Entrepreneurs after Wipro emerges as one of the world’s fastest-growing companies.

2- In 2000, Azim Premji was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

3- In 2006, Azim Premji was awarded Lakshya Business Visionary by National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai.

4- In 2009, Azim Premji has conferred an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan University in Connecticut for his outstanding philanthropic work. 

5-  In 2015, Mysore University conferred an Azim Premji an honorary doctorate.

6- In 2005, the Government of India awarded Azim Premji with Padma Bhushan for his work in trade and commerce. 

7- In 2011, Azim Premji was awarded Padma Vibhushan (second highest civilian award) by the Government of India.

8- In 2017, Azim Premji ranked 9th in India’s most powerful people of 2017 list by India Today magazine. 

DATE-21 AUG 2020

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