10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Azim Premji’

Known as the ‘Czar of the Indian IT Industry’, Azim Premji is a name that needs no introduction. A business tycoon, philanthropist, and the Chairman of Wipro Limited, he has established himself as one of the leading figures in India’s corporate world. However, there is more to him than meets the eye. Beyond his notable achievements in business and philanthropy, here are 10 lesser-known facts about Azim Premji that will leave you inspired.

1. Humble Beginnings

Born on 24th July 1945 in Mumbai, India, Azim Premji hails from a middle-class Muslim family. His father was a rice merchant, a businessman, who also owned a Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd later renamed as Wipro. Despite coming from a business-oriented family, Premji’s life was always simple and devoid of unnecessary extravagance.

Azim Premji took over the family business after the demise of his father when he was just 21 and still studying at Stanford University. His commitment and dedication soon turned the cooking oil company into a leading global IT company, reflecting his ability to turn the tide in his favor.

2. Dropped Out From Stanford

Like many other successful entrepreneurs, Azim Premji is also a college dropout. He had to leave his studies at Stanford University midway due to his father’s sudden demise. But this could not deter him from becoming successful; he completed his Degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University later in 2001.

Dropping out of Stanford was not an easy decision for Premji. However, he took over the reins of his family business and showed the world that it’s not the degree, but the real-world knowledge and wisdom that matters for success.

3. Richest Tech Billionaire in India

Azim Premji is known as the richest tech billionaire in India. According to Forbes, his net worth was $27.5 billion in 2019, making him one of the richest men in the country. He made it to the billionaire list by transforming Wipro, which was initially a hydrogenated cooking fats company, into a more diversified and profitable business.

Even though he is incredibly wealthy, Premji is known for his frugality. He is often seen taking economy flights for business meetings and encourages his employees to turn off the lights at the office to save energy, showing that he doesn’t let his wealth dictate his actions.

4. Not a Tech Geek

Despite being a significant player in the IT industry, Premji himself admits that he is not a tech geek. He once confessed in an interview with Times of India that he does not understand technology as deeply as a professional would.

However, he exhibits a profound understanding of leveraging technology for business development and growth. His strategic thinking and vision have been instrumental in making Wipro a global IT brand, proving that one doesn’t necessarily have to be a tech wizard to succeed in the tech industry.

5. Receiver of Numerous Awards and Honors

Premji’s contributions to the IT industry and philanthropy have earned him numerous accolades and recognitions globally. He was named the ‘Outstanding Philanthropist’ by Forbes in 2013. Time magazine twice listed him among the 100 most influential people in the world.

In India, he has received prestigious awards like the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan. These honors reflect his standing as a business leader and his incredible dedication to philanthropy.

6. Philanthropic Activities

Azim Premji is one of the world’s most generous billionaires. He has pledged to give away most of his wealth to charitable causes. His foundation, The Azim Premji Foundation, works tirelessly towards comprehensive and equitable education in India.

In 2013, he signed the Giving Pledge initiative, promising to donate at least half of his wealth to philanthropy. His commitment to giving back to society is a testament to his belief in equality and fair opportunity for all.

7. Interests Beyond Business

Outside his busy corporate life, Premji has a penchant for literature. He is an avid reader and enjoys immersing himself in a good book when he has some free. His favorite genres include philosophy and history.

Moreover, he has an interest in hiking and counts it as one of his favorite leisure activities. These personal pursuits and hobbies show a different side of Azim Premji, one that appreciates intellectuality, nature and the simpler joys of life.

8. Environmental Concerns

Premji is deeply concerned about the environment. He follows a green strategy in his companies by minimizing waste and promoting recycling. He has implemented several green initiatives in Wipro and encourages his employees to follow suit.

He also stresses the need for more corporations to acknowledge their environmental responsibility and take actionable steps. His concern and active steps for the environment reflect his consciousness about leaving a better world for future generations.

9. Role Model for Young Entrepreneurs

Throughout his journey, Azim Premji has upheld the values of integrity, perseverance and humility. His leadership style, vision for growth, commitment to philanthropy, and deep-seated values make him a role model for young entrepreneurs globally.

His success story is a testament to the power of resilience, dedication, and fervor for change. Young entrepreneurs can take a leaf out of his book to understand and navigate the complex world of entrepreneurship better.

10. Premji’s Family Life

Despite his busy schedule, Premji always found time for his family. He is married to Yasmeen Premji and they have two children – Rishad and Tariq. Rishad has followed his father’s footsteps and is currently the chairman of Wipro.

His family has always been his biggest support system. His wife Yasmeen chooses to stay away from the limelight and has always supported him in his ventures. The balance he maintains between his personal and professional life is remarkable and highlights his role as a dedicated family man.

These incredible facts about Azim Premji go beyond his evident business acumen, revealing a man of resilience, humility, and enormous generosity. As one delves deeper into learning about Premji, one discovers not just the phenomenal businessman, but the compassionate philanthropist, avid reader, environmentalist, and the deeply rooted family man.

For more interesting articles on successful entrepreneurs, visit Successful Entrepreneurs Stories. Also, to know more about Azim Premji’s philanthropic works, visit Azim Premji Foundation.