Wipro chief T K Kurein on Tuesday said the appointment of promoter Azim Premji’s eldest son Rishad to the company board “represents shareholder interest”.
The Bangalore-based firm appointed Rishad to the Board as a wholetime Director, effective May 1.
Rishad for long has been talked about as the natural choice for taking over the company’s operations and the move will bring him closer to the top spot at the country’s third largest IT services firm.
“We have always said there is going to be shareholder interest being taken care of by getting somebody on the board and Rishad has really filled that role… He represents share holder interest, he is a valued member of the Wipro management team,” Kurein told reporters here.
On Rishad’s role, he said: “Nothing has changed and it continues the way it is. There is nothing much to be read into it, other than the fact that he is really in a way representing the shareholder interest.”
Kurein said “Mr Premji (Azim) will remain as the Executive Chairman.”
Rishad is already on the Board of Wipro Enterprises, the FMCG and infrastructure engineering arm, as well as Wipro-GE — the joint venture between Wipro and General Electric in healthcare.
He is also on the Board of the Azim Premji Foundation.
While Azim Premji has always maintained that Rishad will not be appointed the chief executive, industry watchers have maintained that the son is being groomed to take on that role at a later stage.
Azim Premji directly owns 3.78 per cent in the company, while entities related to him own close to 70 per cent. Rishad had a direct ownership of 0.03 per cent shares in Wipro at the end of March 31, 2015.
Since joining the firm in 2007, Rishad has moved from heading Special Projects in the banking and financial services vertical to Chief Strategy Officer three years later.
He continues to run strategy and mergers and acquisitions in addition to his new responsibilities overseeing the Technology Office, Investor and Government Relations and Wipro Ventures.