India’s third-biggest software services exporter Wipro Ltd has appointed the son of founder and chairman Azim Premji to its board in a long-awaited move that brings the heir apparent closer to the top spot of the company.
“Rishad Azim Premji is appointed as whole-time director of the company with effect from May 1, 2015. He has played a critical role in defining the company’s strategy and driving its mergers and acquisitions function,” a statement issued by the firm said.
Rishad — the eldest son of Azim Premji and a Harvard Business School graduate — who has worked in multinational companies in the past and was recognised as a young global leader by the World Economic Forum last year, had joined Wipro in 2007 and has been driving the company’s strategy in recent times.
“These past eight years have given Rishad an in-depth view of the organisation and makes him well positioned to guide Wipro and carry the mantle of ownership in the years ahead,” independent director and chairman, board governance and nomination committee at Wipro, Ashok Ganguly, said.
“He brings a unique blend of exceptional strategic insights, understanding of technology landscape and diverse business expertise,’’ he said.
Rishad, while continuing to run Wipro’s strategy, mergers and acquisitions and the start-up fund Wipro Ventures, will also take up new responsibilities of overseeing the technology office, investor and government relations, the company said. Reacting to his appointment, Rishad said, “It is an absolute privilege and honor to be invited to the Board of Wipro, a company built over the past 70 years on the bedrock of uncompromising integrity and the hard work of thousands of Wiproites.”
Azim Premji directly owns 3.78 per cent in the company, while entities related to him own close to 70 per cent. Rishad had a direct ownership of 0.03 per cent shares in Wipro at the end of March 31, 2015.
The appointment was announced on Tuesday alongside Wipro’s Q4 earnings. For its fourth quarter ended March 31, the country’s third largest software services firm reported 2.02 per cent rise in net profit to Rs 2,272 crore as against Rs 2,227 crore in the same period last year, the company said.
Total revenue rose to Rs 12,140 crore, an increase of 4 per cent over last year, as the company added 65 new clients.
Wipro, which makes about three quarters of its sales in the United States and Europe, said its IT services revenue was likely to be $1.77-$1.79 billion in the June quarter, growth of up to 1.1 per cent from the preceding quarter. The tepid forecast, below most analysts’ expectations, was a result of the drop in crude oil prices, curbing investments on outsourcing services by clients in the resources sector.