16 August 2023, Mumbai: Wipro, a name synonymous with innovation and progress, has embarked on a transformative journey from its origins as a family-run vegetable oil manufacturing business to a thriving multinational corporation with a diverse portfolio. This remarkable evolution serves as a testament to the power of vision and adaptability in the world of business.
From Humble Beginnings to Global Impact
The extraordinary journey of Wipro began before India’s Independence, founded by Mohamedhusain Hasham Premji at the age of 21. Originally named Western India Vegetable Products, the company stemmed from a grain trade business that Mohamedhusain’s late father owned. He transformed it into a manufacturing entity in the heartland of India – Bombay.
Continuing the Legacy of Determination
Even after the passing of her husband, Dr Gulbanoo Premji, Mohamedhusain’s wife, did not shy away from challenges. She assumed the role of Chairperson at Western India Vegetable Products and worked towards establishing the Children’s Orthopaedic Hospital in Bombay, as well as a cerebral palsy unit, showcasing resilience and dedication to societal betterment.
Azim Premji’s Visionary Leadership
The mantle of responsibility fell on Azim Premji, Mohamedhusain’s son, who had been studying at Stanford when his father passed away in 1966. Despite his young age, Azim’s determination and vision became apparent as he not only managed the struggling business but also revolutionized it by diversifying beyond its origins as a vegetable oil mill.
A Shift and Transformation
Azim Premji’s leadership led to significant changes. He rebranded the company as Wipro, shedding its identity as a commodity-based business and venturing into modern-age sectors like software services and information technology. Under his guidance, Wipro transformed from a diversified manufacturer of various products into a key player in IT services, emphasizing the importance of innovation and adaptation.
Embracing the Technology Boom
Recognizing the dynamic nature of the industry, Azim shifted Wipro’s base to Bangalore, the emerging Silicon Valley of India. This strategic move aligned the company with the growing technology market and innovation hubs. As the IT market gained momentum in the late 1990s, Wipro’s focus shifted towards technology services, leading the company to achieve the milestone of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange as a billion-dollar company by 2000.
A Legacy Continues and Evolves
In July 2019, Azim Premji stepped down as the Executive Chairman of Wipro Limited, marking the end of an era characterized by his visionary leadership. Reflecting on the journey, he expressed gratitude for the privilege of guiding Wipro’s growth from a small vegetable oil company to a globally diversified business. His son, Rishad Premji, succeeded him as the Chairman of Wipro Limited, ensuring the continuation of the company’s legacy and evolution.
Wipro’s transformation stands as an inspiring tale of how a family-run business can evolve and thrive through generations, adapting to changing times, leveraging innovation, and embracing the world of technology to achieve global success.