Richest Indian Mukesh Ambani on Tuesday mentioned about leadership transition at his energy-to-retail conglomerate, saying he wants the process to be accelerated with seniors, including him, yielding to the younger generation. Ambani, 64, who has previously not spoken about succession plans at the country’s most valuable company, said Reliance is “now in the process of effecting a momentous leadership transition.”
Ambani has three children — twins Akash and Isha, and Anant.
Speaking at the Reliance Family Day, which marks the birth anniversary of the group’s founder Dhirubhai Ambani, he said Reliance Industries Ltd will become one of the strongest and most reputed Indian multinational companies in the world in the coming years, propelled by forays into the clean and green energy sector as well as retail and telecom business reaching unprecedented heights.
“Achieving big dreams and impossible-looking goals is all about getting the right people and the right leadership. Reliance is now in the process of effecting a momentous leadership transition… from seniors belonging to my generation to the next generation of young leaders,” he said.
And this process, he would like “to be accelerated.”
The company did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comments on Ambani’s remarks about succession.
“All seniors — myself included — should now yield to the highly competent, extremely committed, and incredibly promising young leadership talent at Reliance,” Ambani said.
“We should guide them, enable them, encourage them and empower them… and sit back and applaud as they perform better than us.”
He did not elaborate.
Reliance now has three verticals — energy business comprising of oil refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat, petrochemicals plants and new energy factories, the retail business made up of physical stores and online e-commerce unit in JioMart, and telecom and digital business housed in Jio.
Ambani said an organisational culture must be built at Reliance that outlasts its leaders.
“I have no doubt that Akash, Isha and Anant as the next-gen leaders will lead Reliance to even greater heights.”
In them, he saw “the same spark and potential” that legendary industrialist and his father had “for making a difference to millions of lives and contributing to India’s growth.”
“Let us all wish them good luck in their mission to make Reliance ever more successful with even more transformative initiatives and achieving even greater accolades for our Reliance,” he said.
At the beginning of the speech, he also mentioned about the spouses of Isha (Anand Piramal) and Akash (Shloka) as well as Radhika, who is rumoured to be bride-to-be of Anant.
He also mentioned about Prithvi, one-year-old son of Akash and Shloka.
Ambani said the time is now to “lay the foundation for Reliance’s future growth over the coming decades” by seizing the humungous opportunity.
He sounded cautious over not letting the guard down saying while normalcy is slowly returning after the pandemic, it still is clouded by uncertainty over the spread of the new variants.
“As we enter the second half of Reliance’s Golden Decade, I can tell you that the future of our company looks brighter to me than ever before. I can confidently make two predictions. First, India will become one of the top three economies in the world. Second, Reliance will become one of the strongest and most reputed Indian multinational companies in the world,” he said.
Ambani said despite the pandemic, Reliance has completely re-engineered its energy business.
Energy business previously was confined to oil refining, petrochemicals, fuel retailing and natural gas production. Now, it is investing billions of dollars in setting up clean energy factories.
“Now, Reliance is poised to become a global leader in clean and green energy and materials,” he said.
“This transformation of our oldest business will provide us the largest growth engine for Reliance and yet another opportunity to many of you to do things that will be first in the world.”
With a presence in both online and physical store formats, Reliance Retail has revolutionized organised retail in India.
“In the past one year alone, we have onboarded nearly one million small shopkeepers and created nearly one lakh new employment opportunities. This growth engine will continue to create significant societal value by providing unlimited opportunities for our partners and employees,” he said.
Telecom arm Jio has gained over 120 million subscribers and brought fiber to nearly 4 million homes and commercial establishments.
“It has laid the foundation for making India the world’s premier digital society,” he said.
Stating that it was time to lay the foundation for Reliance’s future growth just as his father Dhirubhai had laid for today’s Reliance at the beginning of the 1990s, he said given existing portfolio, growth engines and strong balance sheet, availability of finance and opportunities will be unlimited.
“What we must focus on is imperative to build an organisation culture capable of translating the opportunity into reality,” he said.
He went on to list imperatives of must-dos — never become complacent by achieving perpetual growth through constant renewal and re-invention; continuously revisit, iterate, re-iterate and communicate the common philosophy of ‘We Care’ that guides and inspires Reliance; and self-growth.
“Now, a semblance of normality is slowly returning. But this normalcy is still clouded by uncertainty,” he said.
“Which is why we simply cannot afford to lower the guard.”
Covid, he said, has taught important lessons, including that health is true wealth, safety first and family first.
“Earning and retaining this wealth of good health is in our own hands. The ingredients are healthy food, good thoughts, good deeds, yoga, meditation, sports, exercises,” he said.
“During the pandemic, work from home has enabled all of us to spend more quality time with our children, spouse and parents. In future, technology will offer even more exciting ways of hybrid and virtual work.”
Ambani said for him ‘Reliance as a Happy Family’ is as important as the ‘Reliance as a Super-Successful Company’.