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Wipro turns 75: How Azim Premji transformed it from a vegetable oil seller to software giant

Source | | Chandra R Srikanth

Bengaluru: On December 29th, 1945, a businessman from Mumbai, Muhamed Husain Hasham Premji, registered Western India Vegetable Products Limited after buying an oil mill in Amalner, a city located in the Jalgaon district in Maharashtra. Few would have imagined that a company that made vegetable and refined oils would go on to become a conglomerate that today houses a listed software giant, Wipro and an unlisted dark horse Wipro Enterprises- which has its consumer care, infrastructure engineering and medical equipment businesses. 

This was possible only because of the ambition and vision of one man -Azim Premji.  21-year-old Azim Premji returned to India in 1966 after his father’s sudden demise, to take charge of his business. Premji diversified the company to hydraulics, soaps and lighting. He spotted the IT opportunity in the late 70s and 80s, and forayed into making computers after IBM exited India. Western Indian Vegetable Products Limited became Wipro, with a focus on software and technology. A $2 million hydrogenated cooking fat business today earns revenue of over $8 Billion from IT services, while Wipro Enterprises has revenues of close to $2 billion.

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