Not all legends are born with a golden spoon in their mouth.
Yes, many have to face rough and struggling times too. One such legend in the Indian IT sector is Azim Premji, the founder of Wipro. He has carved a different meaning of success through his sheer hard work and dedication.
So, in this blog, you will find out about the life of one of the greatest Indian philanthropists and entrepreneurs, Azim Premji.
Read every segment carefully!
Let’s take a look at how his phenomenal journey started.
Azim Premji’s father Mohamed Hashem Premji started his own company by the name of Western India Vegetable Products in Maharashtra. The company’s main operation revolved around manufacturing cooking oil by the name of Sunflower Oil and washing soaps too.
Once Azim Premji completed his schooling in Mumbai, he went on to pursue Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. Sadly, after the sudden demise of his father he had to return to India. As a result, he had no option but to drop his engineering degree midway and take over his father’s business.
When all of this happened, he was only 21 years old.
After he joined the company and took over the business, Premji’s path was full of roadblocks and minimal support.
Consider the following examples. In an annual meeting, a shareholder openly put forward his view about not wanting Azim Premji to head the company and demanded his resignation. According to the shareholders, the company’s business was very complex and a 21-year-old boy would be unable to run it properly.
Well, getting no support from the fellow shareholders did not overwhelm Azim Premji. In fact, although the 21-year-old boy was not confident about his skills, after the incident he was determined. From then on, he promised himself that he would leave no stone unturned to grow the company.
With no experience, obviously, the first few years were very difficult for him. Therefore, to understand the business more deeply, he started spending most of his time in the factory. Finally, his effort paid off and he gained the ability to run the company according to his discretion.
The company started making new products after its entry into a number of business segments. Examples include electric products, hydraulic cylinders, IT hardware and software.
A big opportunity knocked on Azim Premji’s door in 1977. This happened after IBM, one of the biggest IT companies in India, left suddenly. He made full utilisation of this chance. At first, he changed the company’s name to Wipro. It expanded its product bandwidth by making microcomputers and started to provide software solutions.
Soon after, Wipro joined hands with General Electric in the year 1989 and started a company by the name of Wipro GE Medical Systems. The company began manufacturing imaging products and Wipro also entered into IT Services. Later, this became the core business. As time proceeded, Wipro also forayed into the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) segment.
With his sheer hard work and dedication, Azim Premji turned the company into one of the biggest IT firms in India. Wipro’s main focus lies in quality and customer satisfaction and these two things have helped it to climb new heights.
Azim Premji believes there are three things required to achieve success in life – hard work, perseverance and honesty. He is known for his effective management and business skills. The following example proves this point.
A few years ago, the staff members working in the Amalner factory of Wipro used to complain about the hot weather. The company claimed that production suffered in summer because of the tremendous heat. Soon, the issue reached Azim Premji.
Premji visited Amalner in the summer and spent a few months with the employees of the company. His act boosted the confidence of employees and they stopped complaining. Not only this, even the production level increased again.
Because of all the success, he is the fifth richest people in India. Azim Premji’s net worth stands at $29 billion (as of April 2021).
Azim Premji is also a seasoned stock market investor. He believes in value investing and some of the companies he has put in money include - HDFC bank and Myntra. Later on, Myntra merged with Flipkart and Walmart had acquired Flipkart. After the Walmart-Flipkart deal, he earned a profit of 500%. Similarly, he has earned huge profits through his other investments. Azim Premji has invested in startups like Lenskart, Policy Bazaar, etc.
Azim Premji has donated over 35% of his wealth to charity. He also started the Azim Premji Foundation that focuses on improving the education system of India. The foundation focuses on providing education to the children of rural India. He wants all Indians to get a quality education.
According to Premji,
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.
To motivate the people of the world towards philanthropy, he became a member of The Giving Pledge, a campaign started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
He was awarded Padma Bhushan in the year 2005 by the Government of India.