Change is in the air for Indian IT giant Wipro, as the baton of chairmanship will be passed from father, Azim Premji to son, Rishad Premji on 30 July. On 6 June 2019, over fifty years after he first took over the company, 74-year-old Azim Premji announced that his son Rishad Premji would take over the company.
Azim Premji took over the reins of the company after the death of his father, Mohammed Premji in 1966 and has since been a pioneer of the Indian IT industry.
Back then, Wipro or Western India Oil Processing Limited, was in the business of processing vegetable oils. Over the next few decades, Premji transformed Wipro into the fourth-largest IT services provider in the country. Now his son, Rishad Premji is set to take over. But who is he?
An MBA from Harvard & A Social Media Recluse
42-year-old Rishad is currently on Wipro’s board and is the Chief Strategy Officer. He had joined the company in 2007 as a business manager in the company’s banking and financial services division and was promoted to his current position three years later, says Wipro’s website.
He is credited for setting up the 100 million dollar venture capital fund, Wipro Ventures, which invests in promising IT start-ups.
Before Wipro, Rishad worked with Bain & Company, one of the biggest names in management consultancy, on assignments related to consumer products, automobiles, telecom and insurance.
He has also worked in the insurance and consumer lending space with GE capital, the financial services arm of the American multinational conglomerate General Electric. Later, he became a board member of a Wipro-GE joint venture in the healthcare sector.
Rishad has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University in the United States. He spent a year at the London School of Economics as part of the General Course Program.
In 2014, he was recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for leadership and services to society.
Despite his extensive career and the recent media spotlight, Rishad remains a social media recluse. He, like his father, has virtually no presence on social media; be it Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or even Linked In.
In 2005, Rishad married his childhood friend Aditi in a quiet ceremony. The couple has two a daughter, Rhea, and a son, Rohaan, according to The Economic Times.
Azim Premji had announced his resignation as Chairman in a letter to the staff at Wipro where he discussed his son’s role as the next chairman of the company.
“Rishad brings to this role new ways of thinking, experience, and competence that will lead Wipro to greater heights,” the letter says, adding, “He is firmly rooted in the values that are the bedrock of the company — his commitment to the Spirit of Wipro is absolute.”
(With inputs from Wipro and The Economic Times.)
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