All-round show by Mukesh during 20-year stint as RIL chief
NEW DELHI: Mukesh Ambani, who took over the reins of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) after the sudden demise of his legendary industrialist father Dhirubhai Ambani, completes 20 years at the helm during which the company saw a 17-fold jump in revenues, 20-times surge in profit and has become a global conglomerate.
Following Dhirubhai’s death in 2002, Mukesh and his younger brother Anil assumed joint leadership of Reliance. While the elder brother took over as the chairman and managing director, Anil was named vice chairman and joint managing director.
The brothers, however, feuded over control, leading to a split with Mukesh assuming control of the gas, oil, and petrochemicals units as RIL, while Anil got telecommunications, power generation, and financial services units through a demerger.
In 20 years that Stanford University-drop out Mukesh, 65, has been at the helm of RIL, the company has re-entered the telecom business, diversified in retail and new energy, and raised a record Rs 2.5 lakh crore selling minority interests during the Covid lockdown.
Born in Aden, Yemen, where his father worked as a gas station attendant, Mukesh Ambani earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Bombay (now the University of Mumbai) and subsequently pursued a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University.
He, however, left the program in 1981 to join the family business, where he worked to diversify the company, foraying into communications, infrastructure, petrochemicals, petroleum refining, polyester fibres, and oil and gas production.
In 2007, he became India’s first rupee trillionaire. He, however, has lost the richest Indian tag to a fellow Gujarati businessman, Gautam Adani in recent months.
Reliance Foundation, backed by Reliance Industries, came up in 2010 to spearhead the company’s philanthropic initiatives under the leadership of his wife Nita. It works in the areas of rural empowerment, nutrition security, ecological conservation, education, and sports.