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Azim Premji to step down as Executive Chairman of Wipro

Azim Premji, founder and Executive Chairman of Wipro Ltd, who transformed a small vegetable oil company into an $8.5-billion global IT powerhouse, will step down from his post at the end of his tenure on July 30 and pass on the baton to his son, Rishad Premji.

“I wish to thank generations of Wiproites and their families for their contribution towards building our company to what it is today. I am grateful to our clients, partners and other stakeholders who have reposed trust and confidence in us,” Premji said in a statement.

The soft-spoken, Harvard-educated, 42-year-old Rishad, Chief Strategy Officer and member of the board, will take over as the Executive Chairman for a five-year term. Wipro Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Abidail Z Neemuchwala, has been re-designated as MD & CEO.

Azim Premji will continue to be on the board as a non-executive director and founder-chairman. He will also remain the Chairman of Wipro Enterprises Ltd and continue to chair the board of Wipro-GE Healthcare.

“Rishad’s understanding of the global technology industry, strong strategic orientation and diverse leadership experience make him the right person to guide Wipro. He is also best positioned to represent the interests and fundamental social purpose of the largest shareholder of Wipro. I have great confidence and trust in Rishad’s leadership to steer Wipro in its next phase of growth as we move forward,” Premji said.

“I am humbled and honoured to be invited to chair the board of Wipro Ltd, a company that has over decades demonstrated that success can be built on the foundation of strong values and uncompromising integrity. This is a testament to the spirit and dedication of thousands of Wiproites,” Chairman-designate Rishad Premji said.

Leading philanthropist

Premji,73, who led the company for 53 years, is widely known as one of the greatest businessmen-philanthropists of the modern era. In March, he announced that all earnings from approximately 34 per cent shares of Wipro Ltd worth about ₹52,750 crore ($7.5 billion) would be transferred to the endowment that supports the Azim Premji Foundation. This took his total commitment to ₹1.45 lakh crore ($21 billion), making it one of the five largest private endowments in the world, and the biggest in Asia.

“Premji’s unflinching commitment to values makes him an exemplar of how business and ethics can, and must go, together. His exceptional generosity makes him one of the greatest philanthropists of our time,” said Ashok S Ganguly, Independent Director and Chairman, Board Governance, Nomination and Compensation Committee, Wipro Ltd.

“My best wishes to Azim, his successor and Wipro,” said NR Narayana Murthy, co-founder and former Chairman of Infosys Ltd.

Source: The Hindu