Azim Premji at Wipro annual general meeting

Azim Premji
Azim Premji, chairman of Wipro, has delivered the following at the IT outsourcing company’s annual general meeting on July 18, 2016.

Let me start by giving a short overview on the overall environment. US has been sluggish in the first half of the year CY16 after posting growth of 2.4 percent in CY15. Growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. The unemployment data has been largely positive and there appears to be confidence that we will see one hike in CY16.

The run up to Brexit had created a significant overhang on the global economy. As of the now, we do not see a contagion effect and appears to be a regional problem in the UK. Eurozone continues to grapple with challenges around growth and low inflation coupled with geopolitical concerns. From an IT perspective, it continues to be a very strategic market for us. China growth has slowed down as it shifts its focus from manufacturing to services. The slowdown in China impacted commodity prices globally.

India continued to be a bright spot on the global canvas with the economy growing by 7.6 percent in FY16. Monsoon is a big positive. Capital flows are expected to be robust with flows in FDI due to opening up of various sectors and favorable growth expectation.

Overall, the outlook is stable for economies that form key markets for Wipro. In 2015-16, Gross Revenues of the company crossed the landmark of Rs 50,000 crore (+9 percent). Net Income for the year grew by 3 percent to Rs 8,892 crore.

New Leaders at the Helm

Over the past five years, our organization has continued its transformation as a next generation technology and consulting company, with defining differentiators with clients. We have built a stronger client facing organization, increased our wins in large deals by investing in building capability in our employees and being at the forefront of technology changes.

TK Kurien, who led our company as the CEO till January 31, 2016 has been appointed executive vice chairman, effective February 1, 2016. TK Kurien will focus on key strategic initiatives while also providing continuity on client relationships without disruption. Abidali Neemuchwala was appointed as the chief executive officer of Wipro from February 1, 2016.

You may recall that Abid joined Wipro as president and COO on April 1, 2015. In a short span of time, he has established himself as a tall leader in the eyes of our customers and won the respect and acceptance of the Wipro leadership team. A strong track record of success with customers, passion for excellence and rigor in execution makes him a natural choice to lead Wipro through the next phase of growth. The leadership transition from one CEO to the other has been extremely smooth and the organization has been the beneficiary of that.

Digital is Reshaping Our World

We are seeing pervasive change all around us. Consumer expectations and experiences, business models, consumptions models and at times, entire industries are getting fundamentally transformed. Every business has to become a tech business and there is no choice but to rapidly build capability in this area.

To partner with our customers, Wipro Digital practice offers end-to-end services across Digital advisory, design and technology. We are investing significantly in increasing the portfolio of Digital skills of our employees to be able to serve our clients effectively.

Beyond Financial Capital

We continue to run very effective programs to impact communities through multiple initiatives. Wipro Applying Thought in Schools is Wipro’s social initiative in school education that aims to build capacities for systemic educational reform in India and has been running for over 15 years. “Wipro-Earthian” is Wipro’s program to educate the youth on matters of sustainability. Our work in education is global beyond Indian borders. We started the Wipro Science Education Fellowship in the US in 2013 with the objective of facilitating high quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education at the K-12 levels in US schools. Wipro Cares engages with our proximate communities on the issues of Education for the underprivileged, primary health-care and environment.

As I have mentioned before, I have irrevocably transferred about 39 percent of the ownership of Wipro to a Trust that supports philanthropic causes. The Trust will continue to engage closely with social issues.  The excellence in business performance at Wipro would translate into value creation for shareholders, a substantial portion of which would be towards philanthropy.

In 2015-16, Wipro achieved the milestone of its 70th anniversary and moved into its 71st year.