Reliance appoints Ambani children to board in succession plan
Three children of chairman Mukesh Ambani appointed directors as the billionaire prepares to eventually hand over the reins
Bengaluru — India’s Reliance Industries on Monday appointed the three children of chairman Mukesh Ambani as board directors at the oil-to-telecom conglomerate, as the billionaire prepares to eventually hand over the reins.
Ambani, Asia’s richest person, has previously said his children Isha, Akash and Anant would have significant roles in the business and that Reliance was “in the process of effecting a momentous leadership transition”.
With a market value of over $200bn, Ambani’s business empire spans telecom, retail, oil and gas and new energy.
With Mukesh Ambani in his late 60s, “the time is probably right ... If not now, when?,” said Arun Dasmahapatra, a partner at executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles’ Mumbai office.
“This is also an attempt by Mukesh Ambani to ensure the next generation of Ambani siblings stay close to one another and do not have any discord.”
Mukesh’s father Dhirubhai Ambani, a well-known industrialist, died intestate, sparking a long-running and public feud for control of assets between Mukesh and his younger brother Anil.
Ambani has positioned experienced executives and long-time friends and family to steer his children through the transition, and they have taken larger roles at annual general meetings and led some company announcements.
Reliance also said Ambani’s wife Nita had stepped down from the board to focus more on strengthening Reliance’s charity arm.
Akash Ambani, who attended Brown University, was part of a team that brokered a $5.7bn (R106.6bn) investment in 2020 by Meta Platforms in Jio Platforms, a Reliance unit. He is already the chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm of Reliance.
Akash’s twin sister Isha is driving the expansion of Reliance Retail into new categories and geographies and is already a director on the boards of the retail unit, Reliance Retail Ventures, which houses the conglomerate’s bets in India’s brick-and-mortar and e-commerce industries.
Speaking at the firm’s AGM, Mukesh Ambani said the retail unit had doubled its valuation to $100bn after a recent $1bn investment from Qatar Investment Authority for a 1% stake.
The youngest of the siblings, Anant, is a director at Reliance’s new energy business, retail unit as well as Jio platforms and its energy, and oil and chemical units.
Reliance shares closed down 1% on Monday and were among the top losers in the benchmark Nifty 50 index.
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