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Azim Hasham Premji

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Azim Hasham Premji, founder of Wipro Limited, India's biggest and most competitive IT company based in Bangalore, was born on July 24th 1945 in Bombay. Premji was forced to leave his studies in computer science from Stanford University, California, USA at the age of 21 to take over the family business of vegetable oils when his father M.H. Premji, suddenly passed away in 1966. He has since after a gap of over thirty years completed his degree in Electrical Engineering.

The Amalner-based vanaspathi manufacturing company, the Western India Vegetable Product later became Wipro Products Ltd, Wipro Technologies and Wipro Corporation. Under Premji's leadership Wipro embarked on an ambitious phase of expansion and diversification. The Company began manufacturing light bulbs with General Electric and other consumer products including soaps, baby care products, shampoos, powder etc.

 

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In 1945, Muhammed Hashim Premji incorporated Western Indian Vegetable Products Ltd, based at Amalner, a small town in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. It used to manufacture cooking oil under the brand name Sunflower Vanaspati, and a laundry soap called 787, a byproduct of oil manufacture. In 1966, on the news of his father's death, the then 21-year-old Azim Premji returned home from Stanford University, where he was studying engineering, to take charge of Wipro. The company, which was called Western Indian Vegetable Products at the time, dealt in hydrogenated oil manufacturing but Azim Premji later diversified the company to bakery fats, ethnic ingredient based toiletries, hair care soaps, baby toiletries, lighting products, and hydraulic cylinders. In the 1980s, the young entrepreneur, recognising the importance of the emerging IT field, took advantage of the vacuum left behind by the expulsion of IBM from India, changed the company name to Wipro and entered the high-technology sector by manufacturing minicomputers under technological collaboration with an American company Sentinel Computer Corporation. Thereafter Premji made a focused shift from soaps to software.

Azim Hasham Premji finds himself in the Forbes Billionaire List 2000, placed in 41st position with a wealth of $ 6.4 billion. Over the years, Azim Premji has been privileged with many honors and accolades. He was chosen as the Business India's 'Businessman of the Year 2000',  He was named by Fortune (August 2003) as one of the 25 most powerful business leaders outside the US, Forbes (March 2003) listed him as one of ten people globally,  Business Week featured (October 2003) him on their cover with the sobriquet 'India's tech king'. The Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education have both conferred honorary doctorates on him. He is also a member of the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee for Information Technology in India.

 

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