Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani took another step on Monday to lay out a succession plan at Reliance Industries Ltd.
The 66-year-old elevated his three children as non-executive directors to Reliance’s board and said he will spend the next five years of his chairmanship preparing them to take charge of the conglomerate’s transformation into a digital, consumer and green energy behemoth.
It’s all part of an effort to avoid repeating the tumultuous split that roiled the first family of corporate India. More than a decade ago Reliance’s founder, Dhirubhai Ambani, died without a will or a clear leadership transition, stirring a bitter feud between Mukesh and his younger brother, Anil. Reliance was eventually divided up following the intervention of their mother.
Three years ago, Ambani began including his children in major family businesses decisions, involving them in talks with Meta Platforms Inc. to secure a $5.7 billion investment. Formal roles have also been carved out for Isha, Akash and Anant in Reliance’s energy, retail, telecom and digital services arms.
Each child owns a $236 million direct ownership stake in Reliance, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. But it remains to be seen whether Ambani’s children can emulate their father’s success turning the oil-to-consumer titan into India’s biggest company by market value as the conglomerate increasingly attempts to reposition itself for the future.
Here’s what we know about the next generation trio:
With an MBA from Stanford University and experience working at McKinsey & Co., Ambani’s 31-year-old daughter Isha leads the conglomerate’s retail business, driving its expansion and the acquisition of brands, including the once largely defunct and nostalgia-tinged Campa Cola soda brand that was the market leader in India’s socialist era.
In 2019, Ambani credited the idea of launching Reliance Jio Infocomm to Isha, who complained about slow Internet speeds at the family’s Mumbai residence when she was home from her earlier studies at Yale University. Earlier this year, Isha was also involved in opening a swanky Mumbai theater and arts center named after her mother.
Isha is married to Anand Piramal, the son of Indian billionaire Ajay Piramal, whose interests range from pharmaceuticals to real estate. Their 2018 wedding was a spectacular tour-de-force, with performances and guests including Beyoncé, Shah Rukh Khan and Hillary Clinton. They welcomed twins to their family in November last year.
The twin-brother of Isha was elevated as chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm in June last year, taking the helm after his father stepped down. Soft spoken Akash holds an economics bachelor degree from Brown University and has served as a director on the board of Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd. since October 2014.
Along with his mother Nita, Akash helps manage the family’s Indian Premier League cricket team, featuring in the 2019 Netflix Inc. documentary series Cricket Fever: Mumbai Indians. He married Shloka Mehta — the daughter of a wealthy diamond businessman — in another no-expenses spared A-list celebration in 2019. They have two children.
Anant, 28, like his brother has a bachelor degree from Brown University, and is closely associated with the conglomerate’s renewable energy transition. Anant has been a director on the boards of Jio Platforms since March 2020, Reliance Retail Ventures since May 2022 and Reliance New Energy Ltd and Reliance New Solar Energy Ltd since June 2021. He also serves on the board of Reliance Foundation charity.
Last year, his father said Anant had joined Reliance’s new energy business “with great zeal,” adding that “he is spending most of his time in Jamnagar,” referring to the company’s petrochemicals complex in western India. In January, Anant celebrated his engagement to Radhika Merchant at a grand event at the Ambani’s towering residential complex in one of Mumbai’s poshest districts.
–With assistance from Alexander Sazonov.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)