(Recasts to add background on Reliance Industries and Ambani
family. Adds link to Breakingviews column)
June 29 (Reuters) - Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani has
stepped down from the telecoms arm of Reliance Industries
, handing the reins to his son Akash and setting the
stage for a leadership transition at his energy-to-retail
Mukesh's 30-year-old son Akash has been appointed chairman
of the board of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the company said in a
regulatory filing https://refini.tv/3Nrs773 on Tuesday. Akash
was already a non-executive director at the telecoms arm.
Mukesh Ambani, who ranked tenth on the Forbes global
billionaire's list, signaled last year his children would have
significant roles in the family's business, which has grown six
fold in the past decade into a $218 billion empire.
Reliance is "in the process of effecting a momentous
leadership transition", he said at an event in December.
Analysts say the 65-year-old has positioned experienced
executives and long-time friends and family to steer his
children through the transition, and they have taken larger
roles at annual general meetings and led some company
Shares in Reliance Industries rose 2.7% on Wednesday.
Akash Ambani, who attended Brown University, was part of a
team that brokered a $5.7 billion investment in 2020 by Meta
Platforms in Jio Platforms, a Reliance unit.
Akash's twin sister Isha is a director on the boards of Jio
as well as Reliance Retail, which houses the conglomerate's
ambitious bets in India's brick-and-mortar space. Media reports
have tipped her as the next chairperson of the retail business.
The youngest of the siblings, Anant, is a director at
Reliance's renewable energy, and oil and chemical units.
RISE OF JIO
Tuesday's move is Mukesh Ambani's biggest step back from the
business yet. Still, he will continue as the chairman of Jio
Platforms, a Reliance unit that owns Jio Infocomm and other
It comes two decades after Mukesh's father Dhirubhai Ambani,
a well-known industrialist, died intestate, sparking a
long-running and public feud for control of assets between
Mukesh and his younger brother Anil.
The discord, and years of lawsuits and failed deals,
bankrupted Anil Ambani, who in 2008 was No. 6 on Forbes' richest
list and once owned a promising telecom company called Reliance
Communications that went bust a few years before Jio Infocomm
entered the industry.
Jio Infocomm upended India's telecom sector with its
cut-throat pricing, which forced some rivals out of the market
and pushed others into the red.
Jio, which started out offering mobile teleservices, has
been aggressively investing in services like internet broadband
and forging ties with handset makers to launch low-cost
smartphones and providing 5G services.
Now India's largest telecom operator, Jio Infocomm has 405.7
million wireless broadband subscribers as of April 30, and
commands 35.5% of the market.
Last fiscal year, Jio Infocomm accounted for 10% of Reliance
Industries' total revenue and nearly a quarter of its profits.
(Reporting by Rama Venkat and Chris Thomas in Bengaluru and
Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi
Writing by Sayantani Ghosh
Editing by Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter)