IT major Wipro Ltd today announced that its founder Azim H Premji would retire as executive chairman and managing director (MD) of the company by the end of July.

Azim Premji, who turns 74 next month, will retire as executive chairman upon the completion of his current term on July 30, 2019 after having led the company for 53 years, Wipro said in a filing to BSE. However, he will continue to serve on the board as non-executive director and founder chairman. He's going to hand over reins of the firm to his son Rishad.

A recipient of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards, Azim Premji now plans to devote more time for philanthropic activities.

He had, in March this year, gifted an additional 52,750 crore of the company's shares to support philanthropic activities, making it the most generous donation in the nation's history, PTI reported.

Here's the full text of Azim Premji's letter to Wipro employees announcing him stepping down as executive chairman from the $8.5-billion software behemoth.

Dear Wiproites,

I am very pleased to announce that Rishad Premji will take over as the Executive Chairman of Wipro Limited with effect from July 31, 2019.

Rishad brings to this role new ways of thinking, experience, and competence that will lead Wipro to greater heights. He has been an integral part of the leadership team since 2007, most recently as Chief Strategy Officer, and has an intimate understanding of our company – from operations to strategy. He has a deep knowledge of the global technology industry and was until recently the Chairman of the trade body NASSCOM, where he helped chart the course of India’s $170 billion software industry in this era of digital transformation. His diverse and cross-industry experiences give him the benefit of a broad view of global business. He is firmly rooted in the values that are the bedrock of the company -- his commitment to the Spirit of Wipro is absolute.

Rishad will continue to serve on the Board of the Azim Premji Foundation, the philanthropic organization, which now owns 67% of the economic interest of Wipro Limited. Thus, in his new role, he will also represent the largest stakeholder of Wipro.

I am also pleased to announce that Abidali Neemuchwala will be the Managing Director of Wipro Limited from July 31, 2019, while continuing to be the Chief Executive Officer. I have full confidence in Abid to lead our great company. Rishad and Abid make an excellent leadership team and I think this will be a great strength for Wipro.

I will continue to serve on the Board of Wipro Limited while dedicating most of my time and energy to the philanthropic efforts of the Foundation. I will remain the Chairman of Wipro Enterprises Limited which includes our Consumer Care and Infrastructure Engineering Businesses, and the Wipro-GE Healthcare joint venture, with total revenues of approximately USD 2 billion. I will also continue to Chair the Board of Wipro-GE Healthcare.

Leading Wipro from 1966 till now has been the greatest privilege of my life. It has been an extraordinary journey – growing from being a small vegetable oil company to the diverse global business that we are today. It is the deep commitment and hard work of Wiproites across generations that has helped shape the organisation of today. Wipro is an exemplar of a successful, ethical and a socially responsible organisation. I want to thank all of you as well as all my colleagues from the past for their contribution and dedication.

Wipro will continually transform to scale new heights as the world changes while remaining firmly committed to its values. Rishad and Abid will lead this transformation along with all of you. I am confident that the future of Wipro will far outshine anything that we have done before.

I wish you all the best.

With profound appreciation,

Azim Premji

Close