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Azim Premji Foundation Board

Board Members

Brief Profiles   

Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro

Azim Premji

Azim Premji has led Wipro since late 1960’s. Then a $2 million hydrogenated cooking fat company, Wipro Limited is today a $5.7 billion revenue IT, BPO and R&D Services organization with presence in over 50 countries.

Mr. Premji started at Wipro with one basic idea – to build an organization which was deeply committed to Values, with the firm belief that success in business would be its inevitable, eventual outcome. Unflinching commitment to Values continues to remain at the core of Wipro.

Mr. Premji strongly believes that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things and that the key to this is creating highly charged teams. He takes a personal interest in developing teams and leaders and invests significant time as a faculty in Wipro’s leadership development programs.

In Mr. Premji’s view, the Wipro brand promise of “Applying Thought” is the driving force for delivering value for customers – which is the heart of business success. This has driven Wipro’s pioneering efforts in Quality, culminating in the “Wipro Way”, which integrates the methods and practices of Six Sigma, PCMM, CMMi and Lean. It also drives Wipro’s focus on applying Innovation for direct customer benefits – improving their time-to-market, enhancing their predictability & reliability, and cutting their costs.

Mr. Premji is firmly committed to the belief that business organizations have a deep social responsibility - and that this responsibility must be discharged by conducting ethical and fair business, by active involvement with fundamental societal issues and by building an ecologically sustainable business. Wipro is deeply involved in trying to improve Quality of school education through its “Wipro Applying Thought in Schools” initiative, in local community causes through “Wipro Cares” and is determinedly committed to a journey which weaves ecological sensitivity in every aspect of its business and organization.

Over the years, Azim Premji has received many honors and accolades, which he believes are recognitions for each person who has contributed to Wipro. Business Week listed him amongst the top 30 entrepreneurs in world history (July 2007), they also featured him on their cover with the sobriquet “India’s Tech King” (October 2003). Financial Times included him in the global list of 25 people who are “dramatically reshaping the way people live, work or think” and have done most to bring about significant and lasting social, political or cultural changes (October 2005, November 2004). Time listed him (April 2004) as one amongst 100 most influential people in the world. He was named by Fortune (August 2003) as one of the 25 most powerful business leaders outside the US, Forbes (March 2003) listed him as one of ten people globally, who have the most “power to effect change”. He was adjudged as the Business Leader of the Year 2004 by the Economic Times.

In 2005 he became the first Indian recipient of the Faraday Medal. Wesleyan University, USA, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Aligarh University and Visveswaraya Technological University have all conferred honorary doctorates on him, while XLRI, Jamshedpur has conferred the Sir Jehangir Ghandy Medal for Industrial and Social Peace. In 2000, the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers conferred its highest honor - the Honorary Fellowship. The US-India Business Council has honored him with the “Global Vision” award.

He is a non-executive Director on the Board of the Reserve Bank of India. He is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Committee for Trade and Industry in India. In January 2005, the Government of India conferred upon him the Padma Bhushana, one of the highest civilian awards in the country.

In the year 2001, Mr. Premji established the Azim Premji Foundation, a not-for-profit organization with a Vision of significantly contributing to quality primary education for every child, in order to build a just, equitable, humane & sustainable society. The financial resources to this foundation have been personally contributed by Mr. Premji. The Foundation has established a network of institutions that are working in the areas of education and related development areas with strong focus on developing talent and building knowledge. These institutions include Azim Premji University, Field Institutes, Azim Premji Schools and the Institute for Assessment and Accreditation. In October 2006, the Foundation was recognized as the Corporate Citizen of the year by the Economic Times.

Azim Premji is a graduate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, USA.


Sharad Chandra Behar 

Sharad Chandra Behar

With a Master’s Degree in Psychology, Mr. S C Behar joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1961. As an IAS Officer, he held a number of important positions in the Government of Madhya Pradesh and Government of India where a major part of the career was devoted in the area of education. He actively participated in a number of Government Committees and Task Forces. He has served in the jury for Indira Gandhi Social Service Award, Birsa Munda Award for services in tribal areas etc.

He has published around 100 papers on Education, Public Administration and issues of social concern. He was Chief Editor of an educational journal “Palash” for twenty years and a journal of public administration in Hindi for five years. He is the Founder Director of Eklavya, a voluntary organization for educational research and innovative actions and Founder Chairman of Nachiketu, an institution for education and social service and the founder Vice Chancellor of Guru Ghasidas University, Bilaspur.

Since retiring from service in 1997 as Chief Secretary to the Government of Madhya Pradesh, he worked as Vice Chancellor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism. He is also Chair-person of three voluntary organizations namely, Madhya Pradesh Bharat Gyan Vigyan Sabha, Digadarshika and Lokshakti Raigarh.


Rishad Premji 

Rishad joined Wipro Technologies in 2007 in the Banking and Financial Services Vertical (BFSI) as Business Head for Special Projects where he championed Wipro's entry into the Mortgage area as an end to end provider of Mortgage Solutions in the Origination and Loan Servicing space. This led to the acquisition of Gallagher Financial Systems (now called Wipro Gallagher Solutions). While at BFSI, Rishad also led the integration of Citi Technology Services, Wipro's acquisition of the Citibank captive in the application and infrastructure space. Subsequent to the stint with BFSI, Rishad moved to Wipro Corporate as Head of Investor Relations working for the Corporate Treasurer where he helped significantly scale up the systems, processes and interactions with both internal and external stakeholders. In his most current role Rishad is Chief Strategy Officer of Wipro's IT Business reporting to the CEO. In this role Rishad is responsible for Wipro's Global IT Strategy.
Prior to joining Wipro, Rishad worked with Bain & Co in their London Office where he worked on assignments across Consumer Products, Automobiles, Telecom and Insurance. Rishad also worked with GE Capital in the US across several businesses throughout the Insurance and Consumer Lending space and is a graduate of GE's Financial Management Program (FMP).
Rishad has an MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS) and graduated with a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University in the US. Rishad has also spent a year at the London School of Economics where he was part of the General Course Program. He is also on the Board of the Azim Premji Foundation.


Yasmeen Premji 

Yasmeen Premji secured a First Class First in B.A Hons. (Psychology) from St. Xaviers College, University of Bombay and a Masters degree in Psychology from Smith College, Mass. USA. She then worked as Personnel Supervisor with Esso Inc. Mumbai between 1970 and 1972.

Yasmeen Premji subsequently obtained a Diploma with Distinction in Interior Design from Mumbai in 1976. She was the Assistant Editor of "Inside Outside" the Design Magazine between 1983 and 1997.

Yasmeen has had a long and abiding interest in social development and has been associated with social development activities for over 12 years. She was the Director, Aga Khan Health Services (India) between 1993 and 1996 and a Member, Managing Committee and Executive Council, PAK Hospital, Mumbai, 1994 - 97. She is a Member, National Committee, Aga Khan Foundation from July 2001 and her tenure runs through till 2004.

Yasmeen is also particularly concerned about the extremely disadvantaged children of India and served as a Member of the Managing Committee, Currimbhoy Orphanage, Mumbai, 1990 - 97.

In Bangalore, she is associated with Vishwas (Society for Mental Health) as a Member from October 2000.


P M Sinha 

P M Sinha

Mr. PM Sinha is an alumni of Sloan School of Management, MIT. He started as a Management Trainee in Esso Standard Eastern in India in Sales and Marketing and in 1969 joined Unilever India. He joined the Executive Board of Hindustan Lever Ltd., in 1981, and was the Chairman of Stephen Chemicals besides being on the Boards of Brooke Bond India Ltd., Lipton India Ltd., Lintas India, and Nepal Lever.

In 1992 Sinha took over as President of Pepsi Cola International for South Asia. He opted for an early retirement effective August 1st, 2002, from Pepsi, after ten years as CEO for Pepsi Beverage International for South Asia. He is a non-executive Director on Boards of Wipro Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd., Lafarge India Ltd. and Bharti Tele-ventures Ltd. He is also a part of the Board of Governors of Management Development Institute.

Mr. Sinha is the Vice Chairman of Socio Economic Development Foundation of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and as the Co-Chairman of FICCI-CARE Gujarat Rehabilitation Foundation, was involved in total reconstruction and rehabilitation of 23 earthquake affected villages in Bhuj district of Gujarat.


N Vaghul 

N Vaghul

Mr. N. Vaghul is former Chairman of ICICI Bank which is the second largest bank in the country. He has nearly 45 years of experience in the banking industry and has held assignments in several other banks before assuming the office of the Chairman of ICICI Bank in 1985. Besides being a chairman of the Bank he is a member on the boards of several leading corporations in India such as Wipro, Mahindra and Mahindra Limited, Nicholas Piramal Limited and Apollo Hospitals & Enterprise Limited. He is on the board of Ispat International, a leading multinational steel company with head quarters at Rotterdam.

Vaghul is actively involved in promoting several public causes notably the Universalisation of Elementary Education in the country. He is the Chairman of Pratham India Education Initiative which is primarily engaged in serving the under privileged children living in slum areas and who do not have either access to education or quality education. Vaghul is also on the board of Akshara Foundation at Bangalore and spends considerable time in advocating issues involved in the Universalisation of Elementary Education.