Category: Lifetime Achievement Award for the Year | Winner: Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro Limited (Image: Moneycontrol)
Wipro’s 73rd Annual General Meeting on July 16 marked the final appearance of Azim Premji as Chairman of the company. The outgoing chairman, who is set to step down on July 31, laid out the focus of Wipro in the coming years.
"To lead in this time of rapid change we have sharpened our strategy into four pillars based on what our clients need, which is business re-imagination, engineering transformation and modernisation, connected intelligence and trust," Premji said.
The company he added has invested heavily in digital, cloud, engineering services and cybersecurity to build the capabilities needed to deliver strategies and remain lean at the same time. The company is also investing significantly in reskilling employees in the latest technologies such as AI.
Wipro recently divested its data centre business to improve returns on capital employed, in line with its idea to remain lean.
Talking about his son Rishad Premji, who will take over as the Executive Chairman on July 31, Premji said, "Rishad brings to this role new ways of thinking, broad experience, and competence that will lead Wipro to greater heights."
"He has been an integral part of the leadership team since 2007 and has a deep understanding of the company, its business strategy, its culture and its heritage. He is also completely committed to the values which form the bedrock of Wipro," he added.
Abidali Neemuchwala will be reappointed as the CEO and Managing Director and Premji will continue to be the Non-Executive Director and Founder Chairman and focus on the philanthropic arm of Wipro.
What is ahead?
With Premji’s retirement, the responsibility to steer Wipro towards growth lies on Rishad and Neemuchwala's shoulders.
At $8.12 billion in revenues, Wipro is now the fourth largest IT service provider after HCL Technologies ($8.6 billion revenues).
The company had the lowest revenue guidance of -1 percent to 1 percent for FY20 compared to its peers. This is despite restructuring effort by the top management in the past three years under CEO Neemuchwala.
When Neemuchwala took over the CEO in 2016, he restructured operations, and included an increased focus on digital revenues, besides shedding the unprofitable low-end service businesses. He also restructured the company's global healthcare business after the Trump administration scrapped Obamacare, a big focus area for the company then.
Yugal Joshi, Vice President, Everest Group, a consultancy firm, said in an earlier interview to Moneycontrol, "The key challenge for Rishad and Neemuchwala is to bring market-leading growth."
This means that to keep up with changing trends, Wipro needs to balance next-gen services, which typically come at lower tickets and the traditional business, that usually yields large deals.