"We believe this combination of excellence in operations and strong execution of our strategy is critical to achieve our vision. We will continue to focus on both in future as well." --- Azim H. Premji quotes.
Azim Premji the businessman practices what he preaches. Azim Hashim Premji is the Chaiman and CEO of Wipro Technologies, today which is one of the largest software companies in India. His wealth today is estimated at 58,451 crores INR which places him as the fourth richest Indian. He was rated the richest person in the country from 1999 to 2005 by Forbes. Premji firmly believes that `ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things` and the key to this is creating highly charged teams. He takes a personal interest in developing teams and leaders. He invests significant time as a faculty in Wipro`s leadership development programs.
Azim H. Premji did his schooling from St. Mary`s School I.C.S.E. at Mazagaon, Mumbai. In 1966 while he was just finishing his undergraduate engineering studies at Stanford University when his father passed away. On the sudden demise of his father, he had to come back to India to handle the family`s fledgling vegetable oil business at the age of 21. Premji started off with a simple vision: to build an organization on a foundation of Values. Premji eventually sought - and received - permission to study arts courses by correspondence to complete the requirements for his bachelor`s degree in Electrical Engineering. He was maaried to Yasmeen Premji with whom he has two sons Rishad and Tariq.
The fledgling US$ 2 million hydrogenated cooking fat company under Premji`s leadership, has grown to a US$1.76 billion IT Services organization serving customers across the globe. According to `Business Week`, the leading business magazine, today Wipro is ranked among the top 100 Technology companies globally. In the past two years Wipro has also become the largest BPO services provider, based in India. Wipro`s growth continues be driven by its core Values.
Azim Premji has received many honors and accolades over the years. He strongly believes that all these recognitions are for each and every person who has contributed to Wipro. He was awarded the "Business Man of the Year 2000" by Business India and the "Business Leader" of the Year 2004 by the Economic Times. In 2003 `Fortune` named him as one of the 25 most powerful business leaders outside the US. He was listed globally as one of ten people, who have the most "power to effect change" by `Forbes` magazine in 2003. `Business week` in October 2003 featured him on their cover with the assumed name "India`s Tech King". Financial Times included him in the list of top 25 billionaires who have done most to bring about significant and lasting social, political or cultural changes in November 2004. On April 2004, Time listed him as one amongst 100 most influential people in the world. In January 2005, the Government of India conferred upon him the "Padma Bhushana", one of the highest civilian awards in the country. Azim H. Premji is a member of the Prime Minister`s Advisory Committee for Information Technology in India. The Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education have both conferred honorary doctorates on him.
Wipro`s pioneering efforts on Quality has driven from Premji`s strong fanatical belief in delivering Value to the Customer through world-class quality processes. Wipro was the first Indian Company to embrace Six Sigma, the first Software Services Company in the world to achieve SEI CMM Level 5. It also became the world`s first organization to achieve PCMM Level 5 (People Capability Maturity Model). Premji being non-negotiable equates Quality with Integrity both.
"I think progress is defined by the changing nature of issues that a society considers topical. We have made the transition from concern for just basic literacy to improvement of the quality of education. We need to progress from a compulsion to mass-produce stereotypes to creating independent thinkers and active learners. We have to create the right balance between our diverse subcultures and create an education system that caters to the need of every one of them." As quoted by the founder-Chairman of Azim Premji Foundation. With a Vision of significantly contributing to quality universal education to build a just, equitable and humane society, in the year 2001 Premji established "Azim Premji Foundation", a not-for-profit organization. The foundation is committed to certain values like human values, integrity, passion and perseverance. This means every child receiving quality education. Programmes of the Azim Premji Foundation focus on "creating effective and scalable models that significantly improve the quality of learning in the school and ensure satisfactory ownership by the community in the management of the school". The Azim Premji Foundation says it "Aims at making a tangible impact on identified social issues by working in active partnership with the Government and other related sections of the society". Over the years the organisation has been instrumental in improving the quality of general education, specially in rural schools. Azim Premji Foundation says it "dedicates itself to the cause of Universalization of Elementary Education in India".
The foundation citing a technology initiative, reported "Think of a single PC with three display terminals, three keyboards and three `mouses`, which can be simultaneously used as if they are three independent computers". This innovative idea from the Azim Premji Foundation is being deployed in the computer aided learning centre at the Byatarayanapura Higher Primary School in Bangalore South District and in another school. Five educational CDs for Indian schools have also been produced earlier in 2005. They are: "Friendly Animals and Journey on the Clouds" in English, "Swatantra Divas", "Fun with Chinchoo in Mathematics" and "Khel-Mel" in Hindi, released in February 2005. This makes the total number of master titles available at 70. There are now 68 titles in Karnataka, 42 for Andhra Pradesh, 35 for Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, 18 for Urdu medium schools, six for Orissa, 14 for Gujarat, 3 for Punjab and 1 for Kerala.
This Foundation is also involved in computer-based assessment in Andhra Pradesh (50,000 students took part in early 2005), a learning guarantee programme, and a policy planning unit in Karnataka. The current programs of the Azim Premji Foundation engage 1.8 million children under various programs. Premji has personally contributed the financial resources to this foundation.