“Rishad Premji has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for his leadership”
Rishad Premji took over as Chairman of Wipro from his father Azim Premji recently. He has been the Chief Strategy Officer and Member of the Board, responsible for shaping Wipro’s strategy to drive sustained & profitable growth.
In a transition that was on expected lines and set in motion more than a decade ago, the change of guard at Wipro is an absolute case study on how succession needs to be planned.
PASSING OVER THE BATON
Rishad Premji has taken over reins of Wipro at a challenging time, and has tough calls to make. He has large boots to fill and inherits a rich legacy of growth and achievement. His father Azim Premji not just built Wipro but also committed Rs 50,000 crore to charity, the largest contribution in the country to date. Azim Premji is one of the most respected business icons in the Indian corporate landscape. Under Azim Premji, Wipro went from a small vegetable oil company to a multibillion dollar IT giant. Along with the technology business, Wipro has significant presence in FMCG, infrastructure engineering and medical devices. Rishad Premji has the right credentials to take on this humungous responsibility at a time when the IT industry is battling a period of slow growth. 1.75 lakh employees at Wipro look towards Rishad Premji for his leadership and vision in these testing times. Rishad Premji’s diverse and cross industry experiences give him the benefit of a broad view of global business. He is firmly rooted in the values that are the bedrock of the company.
GROOMING OF A LEADER
After his schooling at Cathedral and John Connon School, Rishad Premji went on to graduate in Economics from Wesleyan University and then an MBA from Harvard University. Rishad Premji worked with Bain and Co. for two years across multiple industries including consumer products, automobiles, telecom and insurance. He then worked for four years with GE Capital in the US across several businesses. Interestingly, Rishad Premji got his first job at Wipro after going through a series of rigorous interviews, a fact which speaks volumes for the core values at Wipro. Rishad Premji joined Wipro in 2007 as Business Manager in the financial services division.
In the year 2010, he was elevated to the position of Chief Strategy Officer. He was the person behind conceptualizing and setting up of the Venture Capital fund – Wipro Ventures – a 100 million fund that invests in startups developing technologies an solutions. He led a few of acquisitions, including the purchase of Danish design Firm Designit, San Francisco based Cloud tech firm Appirio and German IT Consultancy Cellent. He has also invested $65 million in 18 startups.
Just like his father, Rishad Premji also takes keen interest in philanthropy. He is on the boards of the Azim Premji Foundation and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives.Rishad Premji has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for his outstanding leadership, professional accomplishments and commitment to society.
In a recent development, he led the company that is keen to partner startups in India to drive innovation and digital transformation for clients. According to him, “working with smaller companies is a significant change in strategy for Wipro as its customer base consists of large enterprises in the range of $2-10 billion.”
He is driving Wipro to work with smaller companies not only as customers but also by partnering with them or leveraging their capabilities to bring them into his sphere of innovations. He is keen on harnessing the different sectors of innovation in various parts of the broader ecosystem.