The latest developments seem to be unfurling the succession plan charted out by RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani to secure the future of India’s most valuable company
The Ambani clan, Asia’s richest family, is making the headlines yet again after Reliance Industries’ chairman Mukesh Ambani recently decided to take a backseat from his chairman position at Reliance Jio Infocomm, the conglomerate’s telecommunications arm. In doing so, the 65-year-old tycoon handed over the reins to his eldest son, Akash Ambani while he would continue to serve as the chairman of Reliance Jio Platforms.
Reports also suggest that Akash’s twin sister Isha is likely to be elevated to the chairperson position at Reliance Retail Ventures, the company’s retail wing. Both Isha and Akash have been on the board of Retail Retail Venture and Jio Platforms since October 2014.
The latest developments seem to be unfurling the succession plan charted out by Mukesh Ambani to secure the future of India’s most valuable company. It has also set the ball rolling for the leadership transition at the energy-to-retail conglomerate.
Akash And Reliance Jio
The appointment of Akash Ambani, the eldest son of Mukesh and Nita Ambani, as the chairman of Reliance Jio comes after his active involvement in growing the company as a board member and then as a non-executive director over the years.
An alumnus of the coveted Brown University, the 30-year-old had played a significant role in conceptualising the idea of Jio along with twin Isha and was responsible for the integration of the technology and Jio’s growth.
Reliance Jio disrupted the telecom space in 2016 when its counterparts were grappling to pay their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. Since Jio’s launch, telcos like Aircel and Reliance Communications, which was owned by Mukesh Ambani’s brother Anil Ambani, have shut shop. Others like Airtel and Vodafone-Idea have incurred heavy losses while trying to stay afloat amidst high competition from Jio and mounting pressure over AGR dues.
Under the leadership of Mukesh and Akash, Jio emerged as one of the biggest players in the telecom sector while managing to clear its AGR dues ahead of the moratorium period, unlike its competitors. Akash also worked closely with the company’s engineers to conceptualise and launch Jio phones which became an instant hit.
In 2020, he was made the non-executive director of the company. Subsequently, he led the key deal between Reliance Jio and Meta, then Facebook, where the latter picked up a 9.99 per cent stake in Jio Platforms, the holding company of Jio, for a whopping $5.7 billion. In 2021, Akash played a quintessential role in Google’s $4.5-billion investment in Jio Platforms for a 7.73 per cent stake. He is also helping Jio in its 5G journey.
Akash’s elevation comes at a time when Reliance Jio is gearing up for the 5G spectrum race and its initial public offering which is likely to list later this year.
Isha And Reliance Retail
Following Akash’s promotion, Isha, the only daughter of Mukesh and Nita Ambani, is likely to take the top chair at Reliance Retail, according to Bloomberg.
Currently, Isha serves as a director of the emerging subsidiary of Reliance Industries and plays an important role in its branding and marketing across the digital space. In 2016, Isha had also conceptualised and launched the company’s digital commerce platform, a fashion ecommerce site called AJIO.
An alumnus of Yale University and Stanford University, Isha has worked briefly for US-based consulting firm Mckinsey & Company.