Additionally, wife Nita Ambani resigned from the RIL board, making way for her children and to focus on the Reliance Foundation philanthropic arm, of which she’s chairperson. She will continue to attend all the RIL board meetings as a permanent invitee.
The announcement comes a year after the billionaire chairman said his children would have significant roles in the businesses of India’s most valuable private sector company.
“I am happy to report to you that earlier today, the board met and recommended the induction of Isha Ambani, Akash Ambani and Anant Ambani into the board of directors of RIL,” Mukesh Ambani said in his address to shareholders at the 46th AGM held virtually. “I can proudly say that they have earned their stripes through dedication, commitment, and hard work.”
‘Will mentor Akash, Isha and Anant’
Calling it an emotional moment, Ambani added, “It reminds of that day in 1977, when my father inducted me into the board of directors of Reliance. I was only 20 then. Today, I see both my father and me in Isha, Akash, and Anant.”
His children already hold various directorships in the group’s unlisted firms. Akash Ambani and twin sister Isha are directors of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd as well as Reliance Retail while the youngest sibling Anant is director of Reliance Jio, Reliance Retail as well as Reliance New Energy Solar, the new energy venture.
“Over the past few years, Isha, Akash and Anant, as first among equals of our next-generation leaders, have fully immersed themselves in every aspect of Reliance,” Mukesh Ambani said. “They have been working with our senior leaders in some of the most exciting projects in consumer businesses, digital enterprises, O2C, and green energy and green materials.”
Their “appointment will take effect from the date they assume office after approval by the shareholders,” RIL said in a regulatory filing.
The succession planning announcement marks the advent of the next generation of Ambanis in the RIL boardroom.
“I shall continue to perform my duties and responsibilities as chairman and managing director for five more years, with greater vigour,” Mukesh Ambani said. He will groom and empower the next-gen leaders at RIL, especially mentoring Akash, Isha and Anant, and further enriching RIL’s institutional culture, Ambani said.
RIL closed 1.1% down at ₹2,442.55 on BSE on Monday.
Ambani told shareholders that Reliance Jio will launch fixed wireless access offering Jio AirFiber on September 19.
While Jio is on track to have pan-India 5G coverage by December, the telco has already started developing 6G capabilities, he said. The launch of AirFiber is expected to help expand the telco’s addressable market over the next three years to over 200 million high-paying homes and premises, he said.
“Our extensive optical fibre presence puts us in close proximity to over 200 million premises. Yet, providing physical last-mile connectivity is a painstaking process in most parts of our country. This is where Jio AirFiber, our fixed-wireless broadband offering, comes in,” Ambani said.
The pricing of the new offering is yet to be announced. The service is expected to help the telco expand connected premises to 150,000 connections per day, a 10-fold increase from 15,000 a day that optical fibre allows, Ambani added.
Ambani also highlighted Jio’s 5G stack, which has been developed in-house with features like standalone 5G architecture, network slicing, carrier aggregation, and AI/ML capabilities.
“Jio’s own portfolio of 5G radios range from small cells to large tower-based radios, addressing the entire spectrum of outdoor and indoor usage scenarios. And our focus on continuous innovation has positioned us to be among the first globally to develop 6G capabilities,” Ambani said.
He added that RIL is one of the largest filers of global patents from India for digital technologies.
Several global investors have shown keen interest in the retail business, Ambani said, adding, “I will update you about our progress with them in due course.”
ET had reported last week that Reliance Industries is likely to sell another 8-10% stake in Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), the holding company of the retail business, to fund expansion, retire debt and prepare for the unit’s initial public offering (IPO).
About 11% of RRVL is currently owned by global investors. RIL owns about 89% and some shares are held by small investors. Reliance last week announced Qatar Investment Authority’s investment of $1 billion for a 1% stake in RRVL, valuing it at Rs 8.28 lakh crore, up from Rs 4.28 lakh crore during the fund-raising round in September 2020.
“Just for context, in less than three years, the valuation of retail has almost doubled, notwithstanding the intervening Covid-19 pandemic. Based on this valuation, Reliance Retail, had it been listed, would have ranked among the top four companies in India and top 10 retailers globally,” said Ambani.
As ET reported, the additional 8-10% stake sale is crucial for the retail business because at the current valuation of ₹8.28 lakh crore, the market may not have the liquidity to absorb an IPO of that size.
Ambani said the company is focused on fast-track execution of the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Manufacturing Complex at Jamnagar. The first priority is to deliver a fully integrated, end-to-end solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing ecosystem.
“This will be one of the largest, most technologically advanced, flexible, and most cost-competitive solar gigafactory globally, and we will be converting sand into solar PV modules. Our solar giga factory will include manufacturing of PV modules, cells, wafers and ingots, polysilicon, and glass at a single location in Jamnagar. We will target to bring the factory on-stream in a phased manner by the end 2025,” said Ambani.
The company is also making progress in developing a manufacturing ecosystem critical to achieving cost-efficient wind power generation at giga scale.
“One of the significant cost drivers in the manufacturing of wind blades is carbon fibre. Our foray into manufacturing carbon fibre at large scale provides us with a unique advantage to further integrate and reduce cost of wind turbines. In addition, we will be partnering with the world’s leading technology players in wind equipment manufacturing to deliver the most cost-efficient solutions,” added Ambani.