The head of Wipro, Azim Premji is among the most known people as far as the IT world is concerned. Through his several ventures, the business tycoon has built a fortune of more than USD 16 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.
Apart from his business moves, the Maharashtra-born leader also makes rounds in tabloids for his philanthropic work.
As the business magnate celebrates his 72nd birthday, let’s take a look at some lesser known facts about him.
Yes, this is another name people forget to mention while talking about highly successful people who dropped out of college. Due to the sudden demise of his father, Azim, who was 21 at the time and studying engineering at Stanford, had to drop out of college and take charge of Wipro, which made vegetable and refined oils at the time. However, the business tycoon did complete his degree, only 30 years later.
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Azim Premji has been vocal about how and why he considers JRD Tata, one of the greatest Indian businesspersons who ever lived, to be his icon and role model for him. What impressed him the most was Tata’s obsession with quality and also said what he “really admired in JRD was his ability to manage a very complex business portfolio with a rare clarity of mind.”
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In 2015, Azim Premji donated an additional 18 percent of his share in Wipro, taking his holding to almost 39 percent. The IT Czar was also the first Indian ever to sign “The Giving Pledge,” a commitment initiated by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to donate their wealth towards philanthropic work.
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You would think that Azim Premji, like several other millionaires and billionaires, would have a collection of BMWs, Ferraris, and Porsches but you couldn’t be far from the truth. Up until 2014, the billionaire drove around in a Honda City, which he only rejected when his well-wishers advised him to upgrade. He then bought a second-hand Mercedes from one of his employees. He also flies modest and can often be found traveling in Economy Class on flights.
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Acknowledging his accomplishments in the Indian IT industry and his philanthropic work, the Government of India honored Azim Premji with Padma Bhushan in 2005 and Padma Vibhushan in 2011. Among the countless honors, he has been awarded Economic Times’ Lifetime Achievement Award and Asian Business Leaders Award.
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In January 2016, Azim Premji was declared “the most generous Indian” in the Hurun India Philanthropy list, the third time in a row. In 2015 itself, the business tycoon donated more than ten times the money that the second most generous Indian gave for charitable work.
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Azim Premji is truly unlike any other businessman we have ever seen. Tell us some other interesting facts you know about the personality through your comments in the section below.