Wipro founder Azim Premji will step down in July from the company he built over five decades into one of the country’s largest technology services firms and devote more of his attention to philanthropic initiatives.
The 74-year-old Premji will give up his executive functions as chairman and managing director but remain on the board as director and founder chairman. Eldest son Rishad Premji, already a board member, will take over as chairman, and chief executive officer Abidali Neemuchwala will become managing director as well. The changes will take effect on July 31.
“It has been a long and satisfying journey for me,” said Premji, who won ET’sLifetime Achievement Award in 2013. “As I look into the future, I plan to devote more time to focus on our philanthropic activities.”
Premji has been one of the most generous donors among India’s industrialists. In March, he pledged 34% of his Wipro shares to Azim Premji Foundation, a philanthropic initiative focussed primarily on education, taking the total commitment to the organisation to 67% of his wealth, or Rs 1.45 lakh crore. The foundation set up the Azim Premji University as a not-for-profit venture in 2010. The Premji family holds a 74% stake in the software exporter.
Founder: M.H. Hasham Premji
Founded: 29 December 1945, India
Owner: Azim Premji