“People are the key to success or extraordinary success,” said Azim Prem Ji, holds for all the people who aspire to achieve greatness in their lives.
Azim Premji was born on 24th July 1945 in a business family where his father Muhammed Hashim Premji was the owner of Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd, based at Amalner. His father was a noted and wealthy businessman who chose to stay in India despite many offers from Pakistan. Azim Premji, an engineer from Stanford University, after the untimely and unfortunate demise of Premji’s father, Azim returned to India to take over the company which produced Sunflower Vanaspati, hydrogenated oil, and a soap. In a bid to maintain his father’s legacy, Azim further expanded the business into bakery fats, ethnic ingredient based toiletries, hair care soaps, baby toiletries, lighting products, and hydraulic cylinders. Like father, like son, Azim Premji had a knack for business and after sensing potential in the IT industry, he filled in for the ousted IBM and formed Wipro.
Wipro is a leading global information technology, consulting, and business process services company and one of the leaders in software products. In 2000, he was conferred an honorary doctorate by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education. In 2006, Azim Premji was awarded Lakshya Business Visionary by the National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai. In 2005, the Government of India honored him with the title of Padma Bhushan for his outstanding work in trade and commerce. In 2011, he was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award by the Government of India. In 2018, Premji was conferred with Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) – the highest French civilian distinction by the French Government.
Despite such a roaring success and financial status, Azim Premji has always been recognized for his simplicity and never extravagant. He is a known philanthropist, head of Azim Premji Foundation an NGO based in India. He has contributed significantly to the education of underprivileged children and also a member of The Giving Pledge with Bill Gates, David Salisbury, and Richard Branson. In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut for his outstanding philanthropic work. Azim Premji is happily married to Yasmeen and has two sons, Rashid and Tariq.