10 Things To Know About Azim Premji – Fondly Called ‘Bill Gates Of India’ For His Charity

prem ji wipro

Founder, Chairman, and Managing Director of Wipro, Azim Premji will hand over the charge of his company to Rishad Premji, his eldest son, and chief strategy officer on July 30. The business tycoon transformed the cooking oil company of his father that was started in 1945 into a conglomerate that spans energy, IT, and consumer care.

As an era comes to an end, here are the top 10  things that give an insight into the personality, success, and achievements of Azim Premji.

1. Simple Lifestyle

Despite being the Chairman of Wipro, Azim Premji always maintained a very simple lifestyle. He travels in economy class and owns a Honda City. On the request of his well-wishers to upgrade his car, the business magnate bought Mercedes Benz from one of his employees.

Surprisingly, he also prefers traveling in public transports and auto-rickshaws and stays in company guesthouses and orders food from the canteen of the company on business tours.

2. First Indian To Sign For ‘The Giving Pledge’

He is the first Indian and third non-American to sign up for the cause of “The Giving Pledge.”

It is a campaign that encourages wealthy people for contributing their major chunk of wealth for charitable causes. The cause started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet encourages wealthy people to donate 50% of their wealth for the overall welfare of humanity.

3. Transferred 210 Million Equity Shares To Azim Premji Trust

Through Azim Premji Foundation founded in 2001 Azimji regularly works for improving the school education in the country. He transferred 210 million equity shares to the Azim Premji Trust in 2010 and donated 39% Wipro stock to his non-profit organization.   

4. India’s Second Richest Man

Currently, Azim Premji is the second richest man in India. As per the Forbes Billionaires 2019 list, his wealth stands at $22.6 billion.

5. Left Stanford University

Azimji had to drop out of Standford University when he was 21years of age and take over the reins of Wipro after the sudden demise of his father in 1966. He joined his father’s company Western Indian Vegetable Products.

6. Admires JRD Tata For His Managerial Skills

In one of his articles, Ajimji said that he really admired JRD for his ability to manage a very complex business portfolio with a rare clarity of mind. Another admirable quality of JRD is his obsession with quality, said one of the biggest philanthropists of India.    

7. Bill Gates Impressed By Azim Premji

At the start of 2019, the co-founder of Microsoft and the second richest man in the world, Bill Gates praised Azimji in a tweet. Gates said, “I’m inspired by Azim Premji’s continued commitment to philanthropy. His latest contribution will make a tremendous impact.”

8. Family Owns 73.4% Shares In Wipro

From a revenue of $2 million in 1966 to $11 billion in 2019, Wipro has witnessed a huge growth since Azim Premji took over the company.  From entering the technology and computer business after IBM’s withdrawal from the Indian market in 1980 to introducing lighting segment with CFL and health sector with GE Healthcare, the company has grown very rapidly.

The Premji family owns 73.4% shares in Wipro.  

9. Awards And Recognitions

He was honored with Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan by Government of India in 2005 and 2011 for his outstanding contribution in the field of trade and commerce. He also received the “Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year,” and “Legion of Honour” in 2011.

Azim Premji was honored with “Asian Business Leaders Award,” “Corporate Citizen of the Year,” and “Life Time Achievement Award” in 2013. He was felicitated with the highest French civilian distinction “Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) in 2018 by the French Government.

10. To Continue As Chairman Of Wipro Enterprises

Azim Premji will continue to be the founder chairman and non-executive director of Wipro Board as well as the chairman of the $2 billion entity Wipro Enterprises with focuses on FMCG and infrastructural engineering.

He will also continue to be the chairperson of Wipro-GE Healthcare board.