India’s biggest private company, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is now getting a dose of young blood. Children of Chairman and Managing Director, Mukesh Ambani and wife Nita Ambani, Isha and twin brother Akash (23) are believed to be joining the boards of Reliance Jio Infocomm and Reliance Retail Ventures, as directors. Both these businesses are wholly-owned subsidiaries of RIL.
About Akash and Isha Ambani
Akash Ambani completed his undergraduate studies from Brown University, Rhode Island, United States. Heir to RIL, he claims that technology is his passion. His induction as a full-time employee with Reliance Jio was announced earlier this year. He has been involved in marketing and strategy for the launch of the company’s 4G wireless broadband service. He has also been involved in development of products and digital applications. In one of his interviews he said, “So far my experience (at Jio) has been incredible. It’s a lifetime opportunity to contribute to one of the largest rollouts of digital services in the world.”
Once ranked among the world’s top heiresses, Isha Ambani has studied at Yale University and double majored in South Asian Studies and Psychology. Up until recently, she was working as a business analyst in the New York office of global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. It is believed that her stint was intended as a preparation for her eventual role in RIL’s consumer businesses.
Other Prodigies of India Inc
It is rather common for scions to pursue a stint at consulting firms or global banks before they are eased into their family conglomerates. Family businesses encourage this to assist the next generation in acquiring broader exposure and global experience.
Daughter of Swati and Ajay Piramal, NandiniPiramal, for instance, too worked with McKinsey as a business analyst before joining her family business in 2006. RishadPremji, son of AzimPremji worked for a few years at Bain & Co in London before joining Wipro. Aditya Mittal, CFO at ArcelorMittal started out in investment banking with Credit Suisse before joining the family concern.
Launching New Businesses and Expansion Plans at RIL
Earlier this year, Mukesh Ambani charted out an aggressive drive into businesses such as retail and telecom that are consumer –focused. The retail outlets of RIL offer everything from foods, groceries, lifestyle and home improvement products, apparel, footwear and even electronic goods. Coincidently, former chairman of Mckinsey India, AdilZainulbhai, has also been appointed as an independent director on the board of RIL in December 2013.
RIL has been working towards the 2015 launch of its 4G telecom services and is expected to invest as much as INR70,000 crores in this regard. On the other hand, RIL’s retail unit announced its first annual profit in the last fiscal year. At the end of June 30, 2014 Reliance Retail posted a revenue growth of 15%. During this quarter, the company also closed 137 stores that run under its “value format”. In addition to this, it also opened 168 stores in scalable or high-margin categories.
Now that revenue growth has shown some stability, the company has been focusing on enhancing profitability.