Billionaire industrialist and Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani today identified his youngest son Anant Ambani as leader of his new energy business and daughter Isha Ambani as leader of the group’s retail business at the annual shareholders’ meeting of his conglomerate.
This sets off Mukesh Ambani’s succession plan that he spoke of last year. Akash Ambani was in June appointment as Chairman of the telecom unit, Reliance Jio Infocomm, and is the only functional head of a company. The other two are on boards.
He, however, insisted he isn’t retiring yet and will “continue to provide hands-on leadership as before”.
“Akash and Isha have assumed leadership roles in Jio and Retail, respectively. They have been passionately involved in our consumer businesses since inception,” he said. “Anant has also joined our new energy business with great zeal. In fact, he is spending most of his time in Jamnagar.”
The three businesses of Reliance are almost equal in size.
“All three have fully inherited our founder’s (Dhirubhai’s) mindset. They are first among equals in a young team of leaders and professionals who are already doing amazing things at Reliance. Of course, all of them are being mentored daily by our senior leaders, including myself and the board of directors,” Mukesh Ambani said.
Speaking at the Reliance Industries’ 45th AGM (Annual General Meeting) after being introduced as the leader, Isha Ambani gave a presentation on placing online grocery orders using WhatsApp and making payments, and said Reliance Retail would launch an FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) business.
“The objective of this business will be to develop and deliver products and solve every Indian’s daily needs, with high quality products at affordable pricing,” she said.
Besides, Reliance Retail will start marketing goods produced by Indian artisans.
“As part of our commitment to India’s rich culture and heritage, we will soon start marketing quality goods produced by tribals and other marginalised communities across India,” Isha Ambani said.
Isha Ambani, 30, is an alumnus of Yale University and is married to Anand Piramal, son of Piramal Group’s Ajay and Swati Piramal.
26-year-old Anant Ambani has joined the new energy business that spans solar, battery and hydrogen investments.
Mukesh Ambani had last year said his children would have significant roles in the business, adding Reliance was “in the process of effecting a momentous leadership transition.”
Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio are subsidiaries of the family’s oil-to-telecom conglomerate, of which the $217 billion Reliance Industries Ltd. is the flagship firm. Mukesh Ambani is chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries.
Mr Ambani, 65, has three children – twins Akash Ambani and Isha Ambani and youngest son Anant Ambani.
Reliance also said its telecom network Jio will begin rolling out 5G services for its subscribers in the next two months.
The company has committed 2 trillion rupees ($25 billion) to roll out the 5G services and will start rolling out 5G in key cities before covering pan-India by December 2023, Mukesh Ambani said today.
Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani, also known as Dhirubhai Ambani, had founded Reliance in 1973. He led the family business expansion from textile to oil to telecom, but the family plunged into chaos after his sudden death in 2002.
The differences between Mukesh and his younger brother Anil grew and after three years of bitter war, mother Kokilaben in 2005 divided Reliance’s assets. Mukesh got refining, petrochemicals, oil and gas, and textile businesses, while Anil was made in charge of telecommunications, asset management, entertainment and power generation businesses.