The board had met earlier and recommended the induction of his three children Isha, Anant, and Aakash on the board of RIL, taking forward the succession plan that Ambani initiated a few years back. Their mother Nita Ambani also stepped down from the board, and she will continue to head Reliance Foundation.
From heading specific verticals in the Reliance Group they are now pushing their way into the drivers’ seats. Isha is heading Reliance Retail, Aakash is heading Reliance Jio Infocomm while Anant is driving the new energy business of the group.
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Ambani turned emotional towards the end of the speech, harking back to his own induction on the board by his father Dhirubhai Ambani in 1977 when he was just 20. “Today I see both my father and me in Isha, Akash, and Anant. I see the flame of Dhirubhai shine in all of them.”
While he would continue to steer the company for five more years, Ambani said that he would be mentoring his children “so that they can provide collective leadership and dependably take Reliance to greater heights of growth and value in the decades ahead.”
Succession is a prickly issue in Indian home-grown conglomerates and usually results in acrimonious battles for control while founding families get split and businesses splintered. Both Mukesh and his brother Anil went through a similar messy battle for control of Dhirubhai’s empire in 2004, with their mother having to step in to broker a deal.
Clearly demarcating roles and businesses right at the outset is a sensible way to avoid such tussles.