Readying for hot seat: Rishad Premji set to join Wipro board from 2016

Rishad joining the board of the company means that he is a step closer to being the next chairman of Wipro, a post held by Azim Premji presently.

FP Staff October 06, 2014 12:42:57 IST
Readying for hot seat: Rishad Premji set to join Wipro board from 2016

Is Wipro scion Rishad Premji slowly inching towards the hot seat? Currently, the chief strategy officer at Wipro, Chairman Azim Premji's low profile son is now set to join the board of Wipro in 2016, says an Economic Times reportand it will possiblybe a major steptowards getting the top job at the group.

The move to the board was made possiblewith CFO Suresh Senapaty set to retire in March next year, says the report.

Premji joined the conglomerate that dabbles in sectorsas varied assoap andsoftware, as a business finance solutions manager in 2007. He was responsible for Wipro's entry into the mortgage business as an end to end provider in origination and loan servicing, which eventually led to the acquisition of the then Gallagher Financial Systems, which is now Wipro Gallagher Solutions.

AfterWipro's acquisition of the Citibank captive in the application and infrastructure space, he was the brain behind the integration of Citi Technology Services. From this position, he moved up as Head of Investor Relations. In 2010, Rishad was elevated as the chief strategy officer.

No easy access

An MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS), with a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University in the US, Rishad was also at the London School of Economics where he spent a year at the General Course Program.

He worked with a few firms - Bain & Co. in their London Office working on Consumer Products, Automobiles, Telecom and Insurance and then at GE Capital in the US, where he worked in the Insurance and Consumer Lending space. However, he said that the consulting spacewasn't enough for him.

"You know, I loved Bain, I loved what I was doing but I felt like I needed to be much more within the trenches of an organisation. I loved the consulting environment but I missed the execution environment," Rishad said in a rare interview in 2011.

But when he decided to make the switch to Wipro, it wasn't like there was an office waiting with his name on it. Rishad had to send his CV across like any other candidate.

"I came to Wipro like any other employee. I was interviewed by Girish (Paranjpe) at that time, when he was in London. The way I approached it is like the way everyone approaches any new job. You evaluate the job; you evaluate the pros and cons of the job and then decide to join a company, with an objective to make an impact. It was important to me because I got accepted for what I brought to the table," he said in an interview with theBusiness Standard.

Like father, like son

Rishad says his father is perhaps the only role model he has, and like Azim Premji, he is also said to be unobtrusive and in the past has reportedly learnt some lessons in simplicity from him. According to an anecdote, when Rishad was in London, he had asked his father's permission to stay at the Wipro guesthouse but was turned down by his father who told him it was company property.

An avid reader, Rishad married his college sweetheart Aditi, who is a homemaker and the couple has two children Rhea and Rohaan. He is also a big fan of Hindi movies and is a huge fan of cricket, and he not only tracks matches but also plays the game.

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