Retirement on the cards for Azim Premji: Founder of Wipro

An era is ending at Wipro! And for the Indian IT industry!  Azim Premji, who transformed the cooking oil company started by his father in 1945, into a $25 billion (Rs 1.8 lakh crore) global IT powerhouse, will retire as the Executive Chairman on July 30.

Azim Premji will turn 74 a week before that. He has served as a proud leader of Wipro for 53 years and is now letting go of the ropes of the company. He had taken over the company on his father’s death in 1966.

Azim Premji, together with Infosys’s N R Narayana Murthy and TCS’s F C Kohli, is regarded as a pioneer of the Indian IT industry. The Industry today has revenues of $177 billion, employs more than 4 million, and is the country’s biggest export business.

Rishad Premji, his elder son, a Harvard Business School and London School of Economics graduate is the next ‘Heir’ to the throne. He joined the firm in 2007 in its financial services business division. Rishad, 42, has played a variety of roles in the company and is currently the Chief Strategy Officer.

Furthermore, the Azim Premji family owns 74.3% of the shares in the company. So Rishad’s succession was almost inevitable.

‘ I plan to devote more time to focus on our philanthropic activities’

In a statement, Azim Premji thanked “generations of Wiproites and their families for their contribution towards building” the 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 said.

Furthermore, for many years, Premji has avoided the public glare. His own public engagements were mostly related to his philanthropic activities, most prominently in education.

The Premji family will continue to have voting rights in the entire 74.3% stake that they hold in Wipro. But the family benefits in financial terms from only a maximum of 7% of the stake.

However, Azim Premji will continue to serve on the Wipro Board as a Non-Executive Director and Founder Chairman, a company release said. He will also remain the Chairman of Wipro Enterprises. The $2 billion entity focuses on FMCG (with products like Santoor soap and Smartlite bulbs) and infrastructure engineering. He will also continue to chair the board of the medical devices joint venture, Wipro-GE Healthcare.

Source: Times of India


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