Gen next at the helm in Wipro, Rishad takes over from dad Azim Premji
The baton is being handed over to a new generation in Wipro, the $8.5 billion IT giant, as its 74-year-old chairman and Managing director Azim Premji makes way for son Rishad Premji, 42.
Wipro had announced last month that its board has approved the appointment of Rishad Premji, the elder of the two sons of Azim Premji, as executive chairman of the company with effect from July 31. Besides being the CEO, Abidali Z Neemuchwala will also become Wipro’s managing director from tomorrow.
Rishad takes the reins of the empire that started off as a cooking oil company and is today one of the leading global software services. Azim Premji, who headed Wipro for 53 years, will now be its non-executive director.
Rishad has been so far overseeing corporate strategy, which includes M&A, Wipro Ventures, and relations with investors and the government.
An MBA from Harvard Business School, Rishad studied economics at Wesleyan University. In 2014, he was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for his outstanding leadership, professional accomplishments, and commitment to society.
Rishad worked briefly with Bain & Company in London, working on assignments across consumer products, automobiles, telecom and insurance. He also had a stint with GE Capital in the US across. Rishad, like his father, takes keen interest in philanthropy. He is on the boards of the Azim Premji Foundation and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives. The foundation now owns 67% of the economic interest of Wipro Limited. Rishad has also served as the chairman of the industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) in 2018-19.
The new Wipro chief is credited with setting up the $100 million Wipro Ventures in 2015 that has so far invested $65 million in 18 startups and helped the parent company in more than 100 deals. He is also on the board of Wipro Enterprises (P) Limited and Wipro-GE.