Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has set in motion the process for the next generation of his family to take over his $300-billion (₹20 lakh crore) business empire. A clear demarcation has been drawn as per which his daughter Isha Ambani is running the operations of Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL), while son Akash Ambani has taken over the reins of the telecom and digital arm that falls under Reliance Jio Platforms (RJPL), sources close to the family said.
Passing on the baton
In December 2021, Ambani, speaking on the Reliance Family Day, which marks the birth anniversary of his father and the group’s founder Dhirubhai Ambani, had declared that Reliance was in the process of effecting a ‘momentous and accelerated’ leadership transition. His intention was clear that the baton would be passed on to his children. The modalities of this transition are now being worked out including details of the key executives who will work with Isha and Akash and also setting up of separate headquarters and offices for both the companies, the sources said. Both RRVL and RJPL have a valuation of more than $100 billion each. On April 28, BusinessLine had reported that both the companies would be announcing their plans for public listing and a mega IPO this year.
“All seniors - myself included - should now yield to the highly competent, extremely committed, and incredibly promising young leadership talent at Reliance,” Ambani had said in December. For the past several months now, the twin siblings have been positioned as the key spokespersons when it comes to major announcements of their respective companies. Eventually, both Isha and Akash would be elevated to key leadership positions like that of the MD and CEO in RRVL and RJPL respectively while the senior Ambani would remain as the guiding force for large acquisitions or other major decisions, the sources said.
Ambani’s third son Anant has been inducted into the board of the group’s solar energy companies and plays a role in some of the social initiatives of the group.
Isha, who graduated in business administration from Stanford Business School in 2018, was key in RRVL’s acquisition of Hamleys, the iconic British toys retailer, in 2019, besides Urban Ladder, Netmeds and Just Dial. Recently, RRVL also picked up online lingerie retailer Zivame and has signed exclusive partnerships with over 45 international brands. Isha oversees strategy development and implementation for all marketing teams, including digital, advertising, communications and creative for RRVL. Similarly, Akash, who joined his father in 2014, is the head of strategy at Jio and has been instrumental in all the important decision making and acquisitions in the digital and telecoms space.
Akash is part of Jio’s executive committee, the governing and operating council of the company. He is a member of the product leadership group and is closely involved in the development of products and all digital services applications. Akash is also handling sports businesses of the group and is running the affairs of the Indian Premier League team Mumbai Indians at present.
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