Azim Premji, the second-richest person in India, is donating billions to his philanthropic foundation.
Premji, the chairman of Wipro, is giving 34 percent of his shares in the technology company worth about $7.5 billion to the Azim Premji Foundation. Premji, 73, is worth nearly $19 billion, making him the 52nd-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“He has done this by additionally earmarking all economic benefits for philanthropic purposes in approximately 34 per cent of the shares in Wipro Ltd currently valued at ₹52,750 crore ($7.5 billion) held by certain entities controlled by him,” the foundation said in a statement.
The foundation is a nonprofit that was created in 2000 and has focused on improving education in India, leading to the establishment of the Azim Premji University a decade after its founding. Its goal is to “change the public education system rather than create ‘islands of excellence.’”
The company was established by Premji’s father in 1945 as a vegetable oil manufacturer. Premji took the helm of the business after his father’s death in 1966 at age 21. In the early 1980s Wipro became a software services company and now employs more than 160,000 people.
Premji was the first Indian citizen to sign The Giving Pledge, which was created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to invite the world’s richest individuals to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes.