Ambani to stay on as Reliance chairman for five years as children get board seats

His wife Nita steps down as director but will continue to attend meetings as the board's 'permanent invitee'

Mukesh Ambani has said in recent years that his children would have significant roles at Reliance. Bloomberg
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Mukesh Ambani, Asia's richest man, has appointed his three children to the board of Reliance Industries Limited but will stay on as chairman for five years to smooth out the succession process at India’s most valuable company.

The shares of Reliance Industries, the oil-to-telecoms Indian conglomerate, slid 1 per cent to 2,442.55 rupees ($29.69) at market close on Monday and were down by the same amount on Tuesday after Mr Ambani's three children – Isha, Akash and Anant – were named as non-executive directors.

Jio Financial Services, the recently carved-out business of Reliance Industries that made its trading debut last week, registered a jump of around 5 per cent in its shares on Tuesday, after falling by about 1 per cent the previous day.

The appointment of the three non-executive directors “will take effect from the date they assume office after approval by the shareholders”, the company said on Monday.

“Isha Ambani, Akash Ambani and Anant Ambani have been closely involved with and are leading and managing key businesses of RIL over the last few years, including retail, digital services and energy and materials businesses,” the company said on Monday.

“Their appointment to the board of RIL will enable RIL to gain from their insights and infuse new ideas.”

The company also accepted the resignation of Mr Ambani's wife, Nita, from the board, “respecting her decision to devote her energies and time to guide and enable Reliance Foundation to make even greater impact for India”, it said.

However, as the chairwoman of Reliance Foundation, she will continue to attend all Reliance Industries board meetings as a “permanent invitee” of the board.

Mr Ambani has said his children would have significant roles at Reliance, which is valued at about $200 billion.

Last year, he appointed his eldest son Akash as chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm. Isha was named the head of Reliance’s retail unit while Anant – the youngest of the three – was made head of its new energy business.

Reliance Group was founded by Dhirubhai Ambani, who died in 2002 without leaving a will behind.

That caused a feud between his two sons, Mukesh and Anil, which threatened to destroy the famous business conglomerate their father had built over 30 years.

Their mother split the Reliance empire in 2005, with elder brother Mukesh appointed as chairman of Reliance Industries, which had interests in petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, refining and textiles.

Anil took the helm at the financial services, power, telecoms and entertainment business units.

Mukesh Ambani has an estimated fortune of $91.2 billion and is the 12th richest man in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Updated: August 29, 2023, 10:19 AM