Azim Premji has led Wipro since 1966. Then a $2 million hydrogenated cooking fat company, Wipro Limited is today a $5 billion revenue IT, BPO and R&D Services organization with presence in over 50 countries.
Premji started at Wipro with one basic idea – to build an organization which was deeply committed to Values, in the firm belief that success in business would be its inevitable, eventual outcome. Unflinching commitment to Values continues to remain at the core of Wipro.
Premji strongly believes that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things and that the key to this is creating highly charged teams. He takes a personal interest in developing teams and leaders and invests significant time as a faculty in Wipro’s leadership development programs.
In Premji’s view, the Wipro brand promise of “Applying Thought” is the driving force for delivering value for customers – which is the heart of business success. This has driven Wipro’s pioneering efforts in Quality, culminating in the “Wipro Way”, which integrates the methods and practices of Six Sigma, PCMM, CMMi and Lean amongst others. It also drives Wipro’s focus on applying Innovation for direct customer benefits – improving their time-to-market, enhancing their predictability & reliability and cutting their costs.
Premji is firmly committed to the belief that business organizations have deep social responsibility. And that this must be discharged by conducting ethical and fair business, by involvement with community issues and by building an ecologically sustainable business. Wipro is deeply involved in trying to improve Quality of school education through its “Wipro Applying Though in Schools” initiative, in local community causes through “Wipro Cares” and is determinedly committed to a journey which weaves ecological sensitivity in every aspect of its business and organization.
Over the years, Azim Premji has received many honors and accolades, which he believes are recognitions for each person who has contributed to Wipro. Business Week listed him amongst the top 30 entrepreneurs in world history (July 2007), they also featured him on their cover with the sobriquet “India’s Tech King” (October 2003). Financial Times included him in the global list of 25 people who are “dramatically reshaping the way people live, work or think” and have done most to bring abut significant and lasting social, political or cultural changes (October 2005, November 2004). Time listed him (April 2004) as one amongst 100 most influential people in the world. He was named by Fortune (August 2003) as one of the 25 most powerful business leaders outside the US, Forbes (March 2003) listed him as one of ten people globally, who have the most “power to effect change”. He was adjudged as the Business Leader of the Year 2004 by the Economic Times.
In 2005 he became the first Indian recipient of the Faraday Medal. The Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education have both conferred honorary doctorates on him, while XLRI, Jamshedpur has conferred the Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Industrial and Social Peace. In 2000 the Visvesvaraya Technological University conferred Sir M. Visvesvaraya Memorial Award on him and the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers conferred its highest honor the Honorary Fellowship. He is a nonexecutive Director on the Board of the Reserve Bank of India. He is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Committee for Trade and Industry in India. In January 2005, The Government of India conferred upon him the Padma Bhushana, one of the highest civilian awards in the country.
In the year 2001, Premji established the Azim Premji Foundation, a not-for-profit organization with a Vision of significantly contributing to quality primary education for every child, in order to build a just, equitable and humane society. The financial resources to this foundation have been personally contributed by Premji. The current programs of the Azim Premji Foundation engage 2.5 million children in more than 17,000 schools across India. In October 2006, the Foundation was recognized as the Corporate Citizen of the year by the Economic Times.
Azim Premji is a graduate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, USA
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