In his first statement on the succession plans for the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) group, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director (CMD) says, the younger generation is now ready to take on leadership roles and “we should guide them, enable them, encourage them... and sit back and applaud as they perform better than us.”
Speaking at the Reliance Family Day event, Mr Ambani shared imperatives or must-dos that all at Reliance must embrace and make it a way of life.
His three children, Akash, Isha and Anant, are involved in RIL’s telecom, retail and energy businesses. While they are not on the board of RIL, they are directors of the group subsidiaries. While Isha is director of five companies as well as of Reliance Foundation, Akash and Anant are directors of RIL’s five and four subsidiaries, respectively. All three are directors of Jio Platforms Ltd, which owns Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
The RIL CMD, who became chairman of the group in 2002 following the death of Dhirubhai Ambani, says, “I have no doubt that Akash, Isha and Anant, as the next-gen leaders, will lead Reliance to even greater heights. I can see and feel their passion, commitment, and devotion to the cause of Reliance every day. I see in them the same spark and potential that my father had for making a difference to millions of lives and contributing to India’s growth.”
“I would like the story of Reliance to be told in that book which has no final chapter and one which is continually updated with records of bolder initiatives and more glittering successes and where successive generations create even greater societal value and contribute to India’s growth,” he says, adding, “This is the only way for today’s and tomorrow’s leaders to earn the right to call themselves the true inheritors of the legacy of Dhirubhai Ambani.”
With a regulatory requirement for top-500 listed companies to split the posts of chairman and managing director (MD) being less than four months away, pressure is mounting on several companies. Initially, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had asked all listed companies to split the posts of chairman and MD from April 2020. This was extended for two years to April 2022.
According to the RIL CMD, companies that become laid-back because of their previous achievements become footnotes in a history book. “We must never become complacent of what we have achieved in the past. We must continuously revisit, iterate, re-iterate and communicate the common philosophy of ‘We Care’ that guides and inspires Reliance.”
He says, “This common purpose creates a shared identity for every old and new member of the Reliance family. It strengthens their sense of belonging and their feeling of pride in working for one of the world’s great companies.”
Mr Ambani says, COVID-19 has taught some important lessons. “The first lesson is health first. Covid has made all of us more health conscious and fitness conscious. Health is true wealth. We have now begun to realise it more acutely than ever before,” he says.
The second lesson is safety first, he says. “The pandemic has taught us that the safety of each and every one is inseparably linked to safety of all. In other words, no one is fully safe in this world unless all of us are fully vaccinated with vaccines that work.”
The third lesson, Mr Ambani says is family first. “At Reliance, our families are the greatest sources of our strength for each and every one of us. During the pandemic, work from home has enabled all of us to spend more quality time with our children, spouse and parents. In future, technology will offer even more exciting ways of hybrid and virtual work,” he added.
“Which means, we can work more efficiently and also devote more time to our families and friends,” the RIL CMD says, adding, “We can also invest greater amounts of time for cultivating our interests and for enjoying intimacy with nature. This will provide us an opportunity to create an even better work-life balance by focusing on things that matter the most.”