Azim Premji was just 21 years old and pursuing his graduation at Stanford University when he received the news of his father’s demise and had to return India and join his father’s business. Thus his professional career started in the year 1966 when he took the charge of his father’s company, Western Indian Vegetable Products. At that time Wipro was dealing in hydrogenated oil manufacturing. Azim Premji was instrumental in the diversification of Wipro. He diversified company’s portfolio to hydraulic cylinders, hair care products, hair care products, bakery fats, and light bulbs. Since his company was not just dealing in vegetable oils now, he renamed the company to Wipro (Western Indian Products) in the year 1977.
When the computer firm named IBM was expelled by the Government of India in 1979, he saw it as an opportunity and made Wirpo enter the computer business. In the next decade, his company made collaborations with various global companies in the computer field like American company Sentinel Computer Corporation and started manufacturing computer hardware. Subsequently, the company made its mark in the software business as well.
Azim made sure that his company should achieve the highest standard in terms of quality and therefore he build up the best training facilities and hired the best of brains in software engineering and honed their skills to the potential that they possessed. Wipro now became the market leader as it was making software at a much lower cost than the various IT companies. Wipro was now exporting software to the US and in years to follow build a huge client base in America.
By the late 1990s, Wipro’s valuation surged to new heights and Azim Premji was not just the richest Indian but also in the list of top richest man in the world. He was hailed by the prestigious magazine ‘Business Week’ by ranking Premji among the greatest entrepreneurs in the world and his firm among the fastest developing companies in the world. His company today has a presence in some 67 countries across the globe and has a market capitalization of $ 37 billion as of March 2017.
He is one of the entrepreneurs who wholeheartedly believe in giving it back to the society and therefore he has formed an NGO named Azim Premji Foundation in the year 2001. His foundation focuses on providing quality education in rural India. His foundation as of now works in states like Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Pondicherry.
He was the foremost India to sign up the initiative named The Giving Pledge which is led by world’s richest like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. This initiative aims at encouraging the richest of the world to donate a lion share of their wealth to philanthropic causes.