26 October, 2005

Azim Premji - India's Richest Man.


India's Richest Man Comes to the Big Board
BY ROBERT E. SULLIVAN - Special to the Sun February 28, 2005
http://www.nysun.com/article/9806

Azim Premji, a billionaire, likes doing business in New York - to a point.

"I really enjoy working in New York," said the Mumbai-based head of Wipro, a $1.7 billion IT services company.

He's particularly fond of the New York Stock Exchange, where he rang the closing bell Friday, to promote Wipro's eGovDirect.com, a reporting system designed to help NYSE-listed companies keep up with all their filing and compliance paperwork with the exchange and Uncle Sam.

"I really like doing business with the NYSE," he told The New York Sun, "They know how to work with clients. They know their business. They know how to treat people. They are very professional."

He should know. His Wipro has been a member for about five years. And Wipro has a large office in the New York metropolitan area - in New Jersey. "It is close," he said, "and it isn't necessary to have an office in New York City."

On the other hand, Mr. Premji says he is very good luck for the NYSE. "This is the third time we've rung the closing bell," he said, "And every time it has ended up higher when we did that." It was up on Friday.

"Wipro is the largest third-party research and development outsourcing company in the world," he said, "and we intend to stay that way."

The company has 9,000 engineers doing product design and engineering for companies around the world, including automotive, semiconductor, telecom, and consumer electronics firms, according to its public relations department.

It wasn't always like that. Mr. Premji was a 21-year-old undergraduate at Stanford University in 1966 when he took the helm of the firm after his father suddenly died. At that time the company made hydrogenated cooking fat.

BusinessWeek now ranks Wipro among the top 100 technology companies in the world, and Mr. Premji himself is on Forbes's list of billionaires.

But he doesn't keep it all to himself. The Azim Premji Foundation uses aid to education to foster its goal of building "a just, equitable and humane society."

Mr. Premji also made the Financial Times's list of "Top 25 billionaires" who, in the newspaper's opinion, have "done most to bring about significant and lasting social, political, or cultural changes."

Top 25 billionaires? Is there a bottom 25 billionaires list? The Sun's research department discovered there are about 600 billionaires on planet Earth.

And when he was in town for a couple of days, where did he go to eat at night? "I was in Hartford last night, and I'm going to Boston tonight," Mr. Premji said.

Azim Premji
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Azim Premji (born July 24, 1945) is an Indian businessman, and the richest person in the country (from 1999 to 2005 according to Forbes). He is a graduate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, USA. At the age of 21, Premji joined Wipro, his father's vegetable oil business (then) (in 1966) after the sudden demise of his father.

In 2000, he was voted among the 20 most powerful men in the world by Asiaweek. He was also among the 50 richest people in the world from 2001 to 2003 according to Forbes. According to a 2003 BBC report, he is "regarded as an Indian Bill Gates".

In April 2004, he was rated among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. His assets include 74% of Wipro, the remaining 26 percent belonging to the cofounder of Wipro. Premji is now the chairman of Wipro. Wipro grew from a company of US $1.5 million to a giant of $1.4 billion under his leadership.

Premji's company dealt in hydrogenated cooking fats, along with consumer products. Now, however Wipro is one of India's largest software companies and is ranked among the top 100 technology companies globally. In 2005, Premji was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

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