Azim Premji (July 24, 1945) is an Indian business mogul and philanthropist. He is the current Chairman of Western India Palm Refined Oil (WIPRO) and one of the richest men in the world. His name was listed twice on the Forbes list of 100 most influential people in the world, first in 2004 and more recently in 2011. Premji’s foresight and entrepreneurial leadership is one of the reasons for India’s economic progress in the global market.
Premji grew up in Mumbai and attended St. Mary’s School ICSE in Mazagaon. He then headed to Stanford University, USA to pursue a degree in electrical engineering but had to drop out and return to India after his father and founder of WIPRO passed away before Azim could graduate. Azim took over his father’s thriving business in manufacturing hydrogenated oils, and with no formal business training he led WIPRO from a moderately sized business to a multimillion dollar company.
In the 1980’s Premji decided to diversify his company by shifting its focus from producing cooking oil to developing IT solutions and manufacturing computer hardware. Since then the company has grown to a $1.5 billion company with offices world wide. Although Wipro primary deals in information technology its logo still features a sunflower to pay homage to when it predominantly processed sunflower oil.
The industrious CEO introduced the Wipro Equity Reward Trust (WERT) back in 1984 to reward his employees for their good work and dedication to the company. Eligible employees were given the option to acquire a share in the company. This practice was not common in India at the time and is one of the examples of Premji’s forward thinking business practices.
In 2001, he began the Azim Premji Foundation, a non-profit organisation whose aim it is to promote the quality of public education. Recently Premji pledged $2 billion to the foundation. He did this by donating a large amount of Wipro Ltd. Equity shares that will be invested on the behalf of the foundation and distributed timely.
Ask whoever prepares the meals in your house whether they cook with sunflower oil. Also find out the different types of edible fats and oils that you may find in your kitchen.
For more such interesting short biographies of business people for kids, go to: https://mocomi.com/learn/culture/famous-people/business/