Mukesh Ambani hints at handing over RIL’s reigns to next-generation; formalising the transition

Isha Ambani, Akash Ambani, and Anant Ambani — the three children of Mukesh and Nita Ambani already hold key positions in various RIL group companies.

Mukesh ambani
Mukesh Ambani, who himself started as Director of Reliance in 1977, just 20 years of age, understands the importance of starting young. (Image: REUTERS)

Mukesh Ambani has hinted at a leadership transition at the helm of affairs of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). The richest person in India said that Reliance is now in the process of effecting a momentous leadership transition, leading some to suggest that his three kids might soon be taking the center stage. “All seniors — myself included — should now yield to the highly competent, extremely committed, and incredibly promising young leadership talent at Reliance,” Mukesh Ambani said on Tuesday at the Reliance Family Day, which marks the birth anniversary of the group’s founder Dhirubhai Ambani. Mukesh Ambani did not give details on how the transition is being planned.

Taking up key positions

Isha Ambani, Akash Ambani, and Anant Ambani — the three children of Mukesh and Nita Ambani already hold key positions in various RIL group companies. While Isha Ambani is the Director, Reliance Retail Ventures, she also sits on the Board of Directors of Reliance Jio Infocomm. Her twin brother Akash Ambani is the Director of Reliance Jio. Meanwhile, the youngest of the three, Anant Ambani joined Jio Platforms as an additional director in 2020 and according to reports joined the new energy venture as a Director earlier this year.

Formalisation of transition

“Yesterday’s comments are merely a formalisation of the transition,” Ajay Bodke, an independent market analyst told Financial Express Online. “I think the third generation has already demonstrated their capabilities in being worthy successors for both their illustrious grandfather and father by being at the forefront in negotiations with global technology leaders such as Google and Facebook, as well as attracting investments in the Jio Mart vertical,” he added. 

Both Isha and Akash Ambani have been active during Reliance Industries mega divestment spree of 2020 where Google, Facebook, General Atlantic and even Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF) invested in the retail and digital units of the company. The next generation of Ambanis has also played a key role in rolling out both Reliance Jio and Reliance Retail. “Their role in conceptualising the roll-out of retail and digital platforms of Reliance is well known. I think the market is confident that the next generation will help in scaling up newer verticals of RIL and help in the evolution of the company into a global leader in clean energy and advanced EV Technologies,” Ajay Bodke added.

Starting early

Mukesh Ambani, who himself started as Director of Reliance in 1977, just 20 years of age, understands the importance of starting young. Dhirubhai Ambani, the business tycoon who started Reliance Industries, too had started young. The founder of the Reliance empire had travelled to Aden (now part of Yemen) and worked for A. Besse & Co. Ltd., the sole selling distributor of Shell products, at the age of 17. In the year 1958, when Dhirubhai Ambani was just 26 years of age, he returned to Mumbai and started his first company, Reliance Commercial Corporation, a commodity trading and export house.

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