Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani has apparently launched his children, Isha and Akash, to the corporate high table through their glitzy weddings that were attended by the high and mighty from different parts of the world, media reports say. Mukesh and wife Nita have encouraged the two siblings to take an increasingly high-profile involvement in the group's annual general meetings by addressing the shareholders and announcing new products and programmes.
The 62-year-old Mukesh Ambani's daughter, Isha, 27, tied the knot with the scion of pharmaceutical giant Piramal group, Anand Piramal, in December last year in a glitzy extravaganza attended by global celebrities, including Hillary Clinton and KKR&Co's Henry Kravis with the mood set by a high-voltage performance of Beyonce, a report in the Business Standard website shows. In March, Isha's twin brother Akash wed Shloka Mehta of a business family at a ceremony attended by the likes of Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and several top executives of lending majors. The siblings have been focusing on the Reliance Group's retail and telecommunications businesses.
Mukesh Ambani is ambitious about new areas like mobile phone-driven e-commerce and thinks the next-gen is in the best position to drive the modernisation of his business empire, the report says. The twins are associated with the futuristic Reliance Jio's Giga Fiber project. Some see the recently announced deal with Saudi Aramco, selling a 20 per cent stake in the oil and chemicals business of Reliance Industries, helping the owner of world's largest refinery to reduce the debt as a move aimed at cleaning up the finances ahead of a change of guard. The twins have a younger brother Anant Ambani, five years younger to them, is also being groomed for a corporate career.
The $50-billion Reliance Group's leadership baton is changing hands once again in an environment that is totally different from the times of inheritance of Mukesh and brother Anil. After jointly inheriting the business empire from their father Dhirubhai Ambani, the siblings had a public breakup that resulted in a compromise. Mukesh inherited the oil refining business while Anil inherited the new-age businesses including communications and finance. The beginnings of the third generation in the Ambani business dynasty cannot be more different from that of the patriarch Dhirubhai who had started out as a gas station attendant in Yemen. When the Reliance Group started out, the Indian industrial landscape dominated by the Tatas, Birls and their ilk was vastly different from the Licence Raj at the peak.
The business environment in India is changing so fast that the future is beyond prediction. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed to improve the ease of doing the business rating of the country. The necessary regulatory changes could bring in the global competition to the doorsteps of Indian business houses, requiring them to be more agile and competitive.