IT czar Azim Premji will retire as executive chairman of Wipro Limited, a company that he founded and helmed for 53 years, with his son Rishad set to take over his position, the city-based firm said Thursday.
Azim Premji would retire as executive chairman upon the completion of his current term on July 30, 2019 but he would continue to serve on the board as non-executive director and founder chairman, the company said. The company said Rishad Premji, chief strategy officer and a board member, will take over as the executive chairman following his father's retirement.
In top level changes, the board also announced that chief executive officer and executive director Abidali Z Neemuchwala will be re-designated as chief executive officer and managing director. These changes will be effective July 31, 2019, subject to shareholder approval.
"I wish to thank generations of Wiproites and their families for their contribution towards building our company to what it is today. I am grateful to our clients, partners, and other stakeholders who have reposed trust and confidence in us," Azim Premji said.
"It has been a long and satisfying journey for me. As I look into the future, I plan to devote more time to focus onour philanthropic activities. I have great confidence andtrust in Rishad's leadership to steer Wipro in its next phaseof growth as we move forward," he added.
Azim Premji turned a small hydrogenated cooking fat company to a USD 8.5 billion global IT powerhouse while also leading the transformation of Wipro Enterprises Limited into a global FMCG, Infrastructure Engineering and Medical Devices leader, with revenues of approximately USD 2 billion.
He will remain the chairman of Wipro Enterprises Limited and continue to chair the board of Wipro-GE Healthcare, the company said.
Chairman designate, Rishad Premji said, "I am humbled and honoured to be invited to chair the board of Wipro Limited, a company that has over decades demonstrated that success can be built on the foundation of strong values and uncompromising integrity.
This is a testament to the spirit and dedication of thousands of Wiproites. "I am very excited about our future and the opportunity to create value for all our stakeholders in these transformative times for Wipro and the technology industry. Ilook forward to their trust, collaboration and support," he added.
Ashok S Ganguly,independent director and chairman, board governance, nomination and compensation committee, Wipro Limited thanked Azim Premji for his vision,outstanding leadership and years of extraordinary contribution towards building Wipro and the Indian IT industry.
"His unflinching commitment to values makes him an exemplar of howbusiness and ethics, can and must go together. His exceptional generosity makes him one of the greatest philanthropists of our time," Ganguly said.
"Rishad's understanding of the global technology industry, strong strategic orientation and diverse leadership experience make him the right person to guide Wipro. He is also best positioned to represent the interests and fundamental social purpose of the largest shareholder of Wipro," he added.