Today Wipro Ltd. is one of the most successful Technological Companies in India and around the world. Wipro an Indian based company was founded as a peanut oil company with name of Western Indian Vegetable Products in 1945 by M.H. Premji and later was renamed "Wipro Ltd." by his son Azim H. Premji.
When Wipro Ltd was first created by M.H. Premji; no one ever thought it would become one of the leaders in Information Technology. While M. H. Premji lived, the company was global, with about 350 employees, in and around Bombay, with $3 million in revenues. The company was already traded when M.H. Premji its founder had passed the way. Many shareholders did not believe on the new leader of the company, Azim Premji because of his age. Stockholders demanded to sell the company because of the stock's lousy performance.
Wipro's mainstay was to buy the peanuts from farmers and crush them to produce shortening and edible cakes. The employees would taste the peanuts to evaluate the farmer's harvest to make an estimate of the oil they contained and then they would set a price. The system was improved when A. Premji asked the farmers to send samples that the company would dry and weigh to calculate oil content.
A. Premji diversified, first into soaps and beauty products and then venturing even further with manufacturing hydraulic components for construction equipment. The question is how did Wipro entered the Technology world if it was founded as an oil company and then into soaps and beauty products. The new Indian government rules passed in the late 1970's requiring foreign companies to run through Indian-owned affiliates gave Wipro an opportunity to get involved in technology after IBM took its operations and went out of India. Wipro didn’t know anything about computers neither Premji nor his lieutenants but this was not an impediment to make them.
At a 4,000-square-foot office in Bangalore Wipro created its first minicomputer that would sell for far less than an IBM mainframe but do similar work. With in a year Wipro got into the PC business and quickly became the leading computer company in India. With its ups and downs, today Wipro Ltd. provides software programming, engineering design, and back-office services for more than 500 of the world's largest corporations.
By employing young technology graduates willing to work almost 80% lower than those West. Wipro Ltd. and General Electric Co. set up a joint venture, making this Wipro's big breakthrough. The company now has over421 customers across the USA, Europe and Japan with clients such as IBM, Sony, etc. It is listed at the New York Stock Exchange and is part of its TMT (technology media telecom) index testing. Wipro has developed centers and offices across India, North America, Latin America, Asian Pacific and Europe. Wipro’s 80% profits come from software exports. The company market capitalization has jumped from $67 million in 1990 to $4.1 billion, making it India’s third largest company by that measure.
Azim Premji, 54, is the richest man in India with a personal fortune estimated at $2.8 billion. His fortune lies in the stock value of Wipro Ltd. and its success in international markets. He owns 75% of the company’s shares.
A. Premji graduated at Stanford University, USA with a degree in Electrical Engineering. With the unexpected death of his father he had to travel to India and be the new leader of Wipro at the age of 21. Premji didn’t anything about business, and many did not believed on him saying “There‘s no way a twit lie you can run it.”
Premji had to run the business so he looked for help. Premji asked professor at a management school in Bombay for advice, and he recommend some textbooks. stood late nights reading these books and teaching himself business basics and systematically built a company based on modern principles and practices.
Over the years A. Premji has received many honor, for example was adjudged the Business Man of the Year 2000 by Business India and as the Business Leader of the Year 2004 by the Economic Times. He is in the top 25 billionaires at the Financial Times. He also was listed in the top 100 most influential people in the world by Time (April 2004). He is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Committee for Trade and Industry in India. The honors this man has received continue on and on.
Premji has also his human side, in 2001 Premji established Azim Premji Foundation, a non profit organization with “a Vision of significantly contributing to quality universal education to build a just, equitable and humane society.” He had contributed to this foundation the financial resources. This foundation engages 1.8 million children under different programs.
Premji firmly believes that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things. He believes that 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.
Secular Engineer: How a Muslim Billionaire Thrives in Hindu India; Mr. Premji Has Wealth And Clout as Wipro Chief; The Imam Disapproves Yaroslav Trofimov. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern Edition). New York, N.Y.:Sep 11, 2007. p. A.1