Bangalore: The much awaited succession plan at India’s third largest software services exporter Wipro Ltd has started playing out with the elevation of Rishad Hasham Premji, 33, eldest son of chairman Azim Hasham Premji, as chief strategy officer of the company’s infotech business.
In a statement released late on Wednesday, the firm said, “Rishad Premji will assume responsibilities as the chief strategy officer of the IT business. He’s currently general manager, treasury and investor relations, and brings with him a diversified experience of consulting, finance, treasury and operations. In this role, Rishad will report into the joint CEOs, IT business.”
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Azim Premji, who turned 65 on 24 July, is not only the chairman of Wipro but also the single largest shareholder with him and his family owning a shade less than 80% of the company’s stock.
It had become increasingly clear that his son was being groomed for a more prominent role as evinced by his appearances at the firm’s quarterly result conferences. Rishad has an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and joined Wipro on 18 July 2007 in the banking, financial services and insurance business after working with GE Capital and Bain and Co.
Priya Chetty Rajgopal, vice-president at Stanton Chase International, an HR consultancy firm, said the increasing role of Rishad Premji in Wipro was both understandable and welcome.
“It is not as if he was parachuted into any role. He has been groomed over a period of time, given responsibilities appropriate to his qualifications,” she said. “The way the whole thing has been handled with professionalism, grace and humility is a lesson to all companies and carries the unmistakable stamp of Premji senior. The fact that Rishad spent several years learning the ropes before being given responsibility has ensured a greater degree of acceptability of his leadership.”
The present chief strategy and mergers and acquisitions officer, K.R. Lakshminarayana, will become the chief endowment officer of the trust set up to fund the philanthropic activities of Azim Premji. He will be responsible for managing investments by the Azim Premji Foundation and affiliated entities, according to the statement issued by Saurabh Govil, senior vice-president and head of human resources, Wipro Technologies.