Azim Hashim Premji, the Chairman of Wipro Corporation was born in 1945 in Maharashtra. His father had vegetable oil Company in Maharashtra. His father died of a heart attack in 1966 at that time he was studying at Stanford University of USA. The sudden demise of his father forced him to carry on his father’s business and he joined Wipro in 1966 at the young age of 21. He is a man of simple living and high thinking and is well known for his down to earth personality. He still drives a six-year-old Ford Escort, travels economy class on international flights, and packs a travel iron and detergent for washing his clothes.
Under his able leadership, an Rs.70 million company in hydrogenated cooking fats his grown to a $900 million diversified, integrated corporation in services, technology products and consumer products. He is a role model for young entrepreneurs across the world. Mr. Azim Premji has integrated the country’s entrepreneurial methodology with professional management, based on concrete values and superlative integrity. His greatest strength lies in bringing together and building motivated teams of high potential, high performing people. With his vision and pragmatism Wipro Corporation become the 2nd most competitive and successful company in India. Wipro chief Azim Premji is amongst Fortune Magazine’s list of 25 most powerful business leaders outside the US. Azim Premji, turned Technology Company Wipro into the largest publicly traded company and has been ranked 17th on the list. Mr. Premji is of the opinion that the most important factor to Wipro’s success has been the articulations and honest adherence to basic values, a shared vision for the future, identification and development of Wipro leaders through precisely defined Wipro Leaders’ Qualities.
Premji is very dedicated about delivering value to customers and his willingness to sacrifice business and profits to hold on to Promises made Vivek Paul, CEO Wipro says about Azim Premji, “The best person I’ve seen who has climbed himself up. He’s taken it upon himself to go from being someone who inherited a factory in Amalner, Maharashtra, to being a global ambassador for India. I utterly admire him for that”.
Premji had changed an old-fashioned Indian company into a high-tech one. A family business like his rarely survives the founder but under Premji it surpassed anything his father has left behind. He touched the sky by his perseverance and sheer hard work. In 1984, Wipro’s Infotech division diversified into software. The liberalization of 1991, as Indian exports of the software industry expanded by 50 per cent every year, so did Wipro. Wipro makes 65 per cent of its sales to the US. They have built a strong brand in the US.
Azim Premji also established a foundation known as Wipro Cares, which focuses on primary education. This foundation has been set up with a corpus of Rs.100 million with an aim to harness the creativity, passion and sense of social responsibility of Wipro fraternity to contribute to the society in which they live and work. It has taken the target to educate 3500 children through Child care India. The foundation also set up libraries in slums. It also provides computer skills and scholarships to the needy students. In the short time since its foundation, Wipro Cares has brought smiles to many children.
He also set up Wipro’s Gujarat Earthquake Relief Fund. After Wipro’s matching contribution, the total amount crossed Rs.20 million. He ensured that this amount is well utilized for the needy and affected citizens of Gujurat. Premji was the prime mover behind Wipro’s decision to achieve ‘Six Sigma’ status. In his address to the top management of Wipro Corporation, he said, “The end objective of our ‘customer-in’ concept is that we want to build the voice of the customer in our products and services. In this journey of achieving the near defect-free products and services, Premji is very clear that as a world-class organization, what Wipro needs to be concerned about is the process, not merely the results. Once he says: “My sincere belief is that development and deployment of the right talent can soon push India to that long-awaited status of being a developed economy.” An optimistic vision, perhaps, but worth watching out for. Such is the vision of a great and highly resolved world-class entrepreneur.