A Gist of Azim Premji Success Story: India’s most generous billionaires also known as the Czar of the Indian IT industry, Azim Premji is one of the finest business tycoons the country has ever produced. In this article, we are going to discuss Azim Premji Success Story. Here, we take a look at the reclusive billionaires’ progression through the years into what is today known as one of India’s greatest success stories.
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Azim Premji – The 21-year-old CEO
“I was 21 and had spent the last few years in Stanford University Engineering School at California. Many people advised me to take up a nice, cushy job rather than face the challenges of running a hydrogenated oil business. Looking back, I am glad I decided to take charge instead. Essentially leadership begins from within. It is a small voice that tells you where to go when you feel lost. If you believe in that voice, you believe in yourself.” – Azim Premji
The company Wipro was started by his father Mohamed Premji in 1945 as Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd. His father was already an established rice merchant known as the rice king. Although one may not expect that the company had anything to do with computers back then it will still surprise you to know that the company manufactured hydrogenated cooking fats.
After Azim Premji completed his schooling in Mumbai he was sent to Stanford University in order to pursue electrical engineering. Sadly due to the untimely death of his father he had to come back home. But on reaching home he also was thrust into the role of chairman in his fathers’ company.
This however did not sit well with the shareholders of the company who opposed a 21 year old leading the company that was valued at $2million. There was nothing much they could do as Premji owned 90% of the business. Surprisingly Premji rose up to the role and soon expanded the company to also diversify its product line to produce hydraulic cylinders, toiletries, soaps, and lighting products.
Premji Enters Computers
After diversifying and entering new markets Premji also decided to update the name of the company. He dropped ‘Vegetable Products’ from its name, creating Wipro in 1977. The year also marked a change for the Indian business climate a the Morarji Desai government began taking an aggressive stance towards FDI and foreign companies.
This forced businesses like IBM to leave the country. This is where Premji’s business acumen stood out as he was quick to identify the opportunity in the Indian IT sector. Wipro soon entered the IT space in 1980, which gave the company enough room to easily set up their business unbothered due to lack of competition.
The company began in the hardware sphere by manufacturing microcomputers under a technology-sharing agreement with Sentinel Computers a US-based company. The company soon entered the software sphere of the industry as well. In 1989, Wipro entered into a partnership with General Electric(GE). Here Wipro manufactured and distributed imaging products called Wipro GE Medical Systems.
Growth of Wipro under Azim Premji
“Success is achieved twice. Once in the mind and the second time in the real world.” – Azim Premji
Premji never rested on the laurels that the company had earned so far. Wipro soon diversified into the manufacturing of other IT products like printers, scanners, and medical and diagnostic equipment by 1991. At the same time, they also maintained and grew their other businesses to also produce lamps, powders, oil-based natural ingredients.
By 1999, Wipro successfully entered into a partnership with KPN to provide internet services in India. In 2000, Wipro was the second-largest listed company in India and also India’s largest software exporters. Wipro was India’s best-performing stock from 1998-2003. Much of Wipro’s success is also owed to its then CEO Vivek Paul.
Under Paul and Premji’s leadership, the company continued to grow with IT being the core of its business. In 2002, Wipro also became a BPO, a business it is well known for to this day. After Paul left Wipro in 2005, Premji once again became CEO. It would seem hard to believe at first but under Premji, the revenues of the group rose 3500 times in 50 years. From $2 million in the 1960s to around $7 billion by 2014.
In 2005 and 2011, Azim Premji was awarded the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan by the government of India respectively. He also has been voted as one of the 20 most powerful men in the World by Asiaweek in 2010. He also has twice been listed in Time Magazines 100 most influential people around the world. Azim Premji stepped down from the board of Wipro in 2019. He currently has a net worth of $6.6 billion.
Azim Premji Philanthropy Works
Azim Premji’s contribution to the Indian IT industry is massive and he also holds an unbeatable record of revenue growth. There is also one other aspect where Azim Premji serves as an for all Indians and that is Philanthropy.
He was the first Indian to sign up for The Giving Pledge. The initiative was led by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. It encourages the wealthiest people to commit to giving up their wealth for charity. His lifetime donations stood at $21 billion as of June 2020. According to EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List, his charitable donations amounted to $22 crore per day during the year.
“I strongly believe that those of us, who are privileged to have wealth, should contribute significantly to try and create a better world for the millions who are far less privileged.” – Azim Premji
Azim Premji success story is an inspiration to all. He rose up to the challenge at a very young age of 21 and still managed to drive his company to deliver excellence. Despite achieving so much he still has dedicated his life and wealth to the betterment of society.