Isha Ambani and her brother Akash are being readied to take the Reliance baton forward, with their father and business tycoon Mukesh Ambani talking succession for the first time. In an event with Reliance shareholders, Ambani, who is India’s richest man, mentioned his company was “in the process of effecting a momentous leadership transition” and that it was time for the younger generation to make strides in business.
“All seniors – myself included – should now yield to the highly competent, extremely committed, and incredibly promising young leadership talent at Reliance,” Ambani, 64, said. He is the present chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd established in the 1960s by his father Dhirubhai Ambani.
The reference to power transfer made during Ambani’s address on the birth anniversary of his father was markedly the first of its kind since he took the chief seat at the company. “We should guide them, enable them, encourage them and empower them… and sit back and applaud as they perform better than us,” he said.
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Ambani and wife Nita have three children together – twins Akash and Isha who are 30, and their youngest Anant who is 26. The two older siblings are positioned to take the eventual handover of the company from their father.
Here are some key things to know about Isha Ambani:
1. A graduate of Yale and Stanford Universities, Isha Ambani is an heiress to the billions-worth empire of her father Mukesh Ambani. As per reports, she was previously employed with McKinsey and Co in the United States and has already taken up leadership at Reliance in various capacities.
2. Along with her twin Akash, Isha joined Reliance in 2014 as director. As the only Ambani daughter, Isha has taken charge of female leadership at Reliance, a giant that has only known primary male leadership since its inception.
3. Isha is deeply involved in the processes at the Reliance Jio, which it is believed came to be established with her in the centre. As per a speech Ambani made, it was Isha’s complaint of slow internet speed at home that led to the launch of the 4G network under the Reliance brand. Read here.
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4. Reliance’s e-commerce offerings, Ajio for fashion and JioMart for groceries, reportedly also come under Isha’s leadership. She is involved in the operations at Reliance Foundation, the conglomerate’s nonprofit segment. In interviews, Isha has mentioned she shares a boss-subordinate relationship with her father in the workplace.
5. In a 2019 interview with Vogue, when she was the cover girl for the magazine, Isha revealed the big plan was to always return to the family business, following her US stint. “Growing up, we knew Reliance was creating changes that were big for our country… And coming to the office was not something that started for me at a certain time—I was always here,” she said, talking about taking her father’s legacy forward.
6. Reports suggest Isha was crucial in cracking the major deal between Facebook and Jio last year, which had the social media giant investing $5.7 billion in the Jio platforms.
7. Isha’s lavish wedding to business heir Anand Piramal in 2018 at her home Antilia put the spotlight on her like never before. The couple’s elaborate, star-studded $100 million ceremonies made top headlines that year for being among the most expensive weddings of recent times.