Who is Mukesh Ambani - India's Wealthiest Tycoon: Bio, Career, Private Life and Protected like "National Asset"
|Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani. Photo: gqindia|
The face of new emerging India, Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani is the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries which has earned the reputation of being one of the largest private-sector enterprises in India, a Fortune 500 company, and one of the largest private-sector conglomerates in the world.
Birth, Early Life, and Family
Mukesh Ambani was born as Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani on April 19, 1957, in Aden (present-day Yemen) to Dhirubhai Ambani and Kokilaben Ambani. He has a younger brother Anil Ambani and two sisters-- Nina Bhadrashyam Kothari and Dipti Dattaraj Salgaocar.
Mukesh Ambani spent a year in Yemen and in 1958, Dhirubhai Ambani moved back to India to start spices and textiles trading business.
Until the 1970s, Mukesh Ambani lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Mumbai's Bhuleshwar. After a few years, when the financial condition of the family improved, Mukesh Ambani's father bought a 14-floor apartment block called 'Sea Wind' in Colaba, according to Jagranjosh.
His dad Dhirubhai - the biggest influence
Although he grew up in a household where his father, Dhirubhai, was seen as an icon in India, Mukesh was always shy and withdrawn. He did not easily make friends and it took him a long time to open up to people. Even today, Mukesh doesn’t believe in fickle relationships and has very few people he is close with.
Despite having wealth because of the powerful empire his father had begun to build in India, Mukesh says he grew up in an ordinary household and did not lead a spoilt life. Though busy, his dad made sure that no matter what, Sunday was devoted to his children. Mukesh has said that his father was a workhorse, but also made sure to bring out the best in his children, allowing them space to grow and encouraging them to dream big. He has tried hard to follow his father’s lead with his own children.
It was this encouragement that allowed Mukesh to discover the confidence to be his own man. It’s said that Dhirubhai made sure his children believed they could do anything they wanted to. So, when Mukesh took over part of the family business after his father died, he was ruthless in his approach, making strategic moves in the oil, gas, petrochemicals, and manufacturing arms of the business. It is through Mukesh’s visionary business moves that the Ambani boss is now estimated to have a net worth of around US$76.5 billion, Style wrote.
Ambani attended the Hill Grange High School at Peddar Road, Mumbai, along with his brother and Anand Jain, who later became his close associate. After his secondary schooling, he studied at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. He then received a BE degree in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology.
Ambani later enrolled for an MBA at Stanford University but withdrew in 1980 to help his father build Reliance, which at the time was still a small but fast-growing enterprise. His father felt that real-life skills were harnessed through experiences and not by sitting in a classroom, so he called his son back to India from Stanford to take command of a yarn manufacturing project in his company.
Ambani has been quoted as saying that he was influenced by his teachers William F. Sharpe and Man Mohan Sharma because they are "the kind of professors who made you think out of the box." Britannica cited.
In 1985, Mukesh Ambani married Nita Ambani. The couple has two sons-- Anant Ambani and Akash Ambani and a daughter-- Isha Ambani. Dhirubhai Ambani attended a dance performance where Nita participated and later arranged the marriage for the two of them.
The family resides in a 27-story private apartment-- Antilia, worth $1 bn USD. The building has 600 staff members for its maintenance and has three helipads, a 160-car garage, a private movie theatre, a swimming pool, and a fitness center.
Mukesh Ambani's favourite food is Idli Sambhar, his favourite restaurant is Mysore Cafe, Mumbai (he used to eat at this place during his college time).
An arranged marriage transforms into a true romance
For Mukesh Ambani, it was his father Dhirubhai who took on the unofficial role of matchmaker. He took just one look at Nita and knew that he had found his son’s future wife. And if the couple’s successful marriage is anything to go by, he had great taste.
Nita, a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, was doing a routine at a cultural dance show when she enthralled Dhirubhai with her performance.
Dhirubhai was so taken with Nita that he tracked down her number and gave her a call at home.
Since Nita grew up in a middle-class family, she wanted to show Mukesh her way of life while they were dating, insisting that they take the bus instead of Mukesh’s Mercedes. They ended up taking Nita’s favorite double-decker bus route through the city. Mukesh also suggested his favorite Mumbai street food joints to Nita, showing that he’s more than the rich scion who makes headlines.
After just a few meetings, Mukesh decided he wanted Nita for his wife. However, he didn’t pop the question during a romantic dinner with great fanfare, but while the couple was driving on one of the busiest roads in Mumbai. He stopped the car amid the traffic, insisting that he wouldn’t start it until he’d received Nita’s “yes”. The pair married in 1985, Scmp noted.
How Indian billionaires Mukesh and Nita raised children
Ambani matriarch Nita has proven herself a mighty businesswoman outside her husband’s successes. Gender equality is an important issue to her – the girls in her family were given equal freedom growing up, and she has passed this onto her children. She made sure that her daughter Isha knew she could achieve anything she wanted and taught her sons to respect women.
Riches on a budget
Although they are one of the richest families in the world, the Ambanis still live according to a budget. Nita oversees the weekly family food budget and talks it through with her kitchen staff. She has taught her children to do the same, encouraging them to be mindful of where their money goes – down to every cent spent in their household.
Education is critical
There were no free passes for the Ambani children when it came to their schooling. Nita and Mukesh emphasize education, as they think it is the biggest tool to enable change. This also explains their various school and university projects around India, which Nita described to women’s lifestyle website iDiva as the opportunity to be involved in “moulding the thoughts of the next generation”. The Ambani kids had to study hard and remain dedicated to their schooling when they were younger, with Nita always making sure their homework was done and Mukesh spending his weekends helping his children with their studies.
Living with restraint
As Nita grew up in a middle-class home, she was determined to teach her children the value of money and how the rest of the world lives – despite their massive family wealth. With wealth comes responsibility, Nita and Mukesh believe, and this led to restrictions that the family’s rich friends did not understand. Anant, Isha, and Akash were given limited pocket money, had strict bedtimes, and used public transport when they were in college.
Work hard, party hard
As adults, the Ambani kids have to work hard to earn their keep. All of them are deeply involved in the family business, Reliance Industries. But working long hours with the same loved ones who you live with can be tough. Because of this, the family has learned to leave work at the door when they return home. Not only that, they are known for hosting extravagant parties at their Antilia mansion with their celebrity pals. Now that’s one way to wind down from a day at the office, according to Style.
Mr. Mukesh D. Ambani (DIN 00001695) is a Chemical Engineer from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai (erstwhile the University Department of Chemical Technology, University of Mumbai). He pursued an MBA from Stanford University in the US. He has been on the Board of Reliance since 1977. He initiated Reliance’s backward integration journey – from textiles to polyester fibers and further onto petrochemicals and petroleum refining, and going upstream into oil and gas exploration and production. He created multiple new world-class manufacturing facilities involving diverse technologies that have raised Reliance’s petrochemicals manufacturing capacities from less than a million tonnes to about 21 million tonnes per year.
In the late nineties, Mr. Mukesh Ambani spearheaded the creation of the world’s largest grassroots petroleum refinery at Jamnagar in Gujarat, India, with a capacity of 660,000 barrels per day (33 million tonnes a year), and integrated it with petrochemicals, power generation, port, and related infrastructure. Further, he steered the setting up of another 580,000-barrels-per-day refinery next to the first one in Jamnagar. With an aggregate refining capacity of 1.24 million barrels of oil per day at a single location, Jamnagar has become the refining hub of the world.
He also led Reliance’s development of infrastructure facilities and implementation of a pan-India organized retail network spanning multiple formats and supply chain infrastructure. Today, Reliance Retail is the largest organized retail player in India. He has created global records in customer acquisition for Jio, Reliance’s digital services initiative. He led and established one of the world’s most expansive 4G broadband wireless networks offering end-to-end solutions that address the entire value chain across various digital services in key domains of national interest, such as education, healthcare, security, financial services, government-citizen interfaces, and entertainment.
Mr. Mukesh Ambani is a member of The Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum. He is an elected Foreign Member of the prestigious United States National Academy of Engineering. He is a member of the Global Advisory Council of Bank of America. He is also a member of the International Advisory Council of The Brookings Institution, Reliance Industry Limited reported.
Family pressure fuelled him
Living up to the great Dhirubhai can’t be an easy task. As Mukesh navigated his way through the business world, he said it was his father who continued to inspire him, even after his death. The Reliance Industries boss said he feels his father’s presence in everything he does, explaining that the family business was Dhirubhai’s entire life and it is his goal to ensure that he continues building on that legacy.
- Member of Board of Governors Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai
- Chairman, managing director, Chairman of Finance Committee and
- Member of Employees Stock Compensation Committee, Reliance Industries Limited
- Former chairman, Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited
- Former vice-chairman, Reliance Petroleum
- Chairman of the board, Reliance Petroleum
- Chairman and Chairman of Audit Committee, Reliance Retail Limited.
- Chairman, Reliance Exploration and Production DMCC
- Former Director, Member of Credit Committee and Member of Compensation & Benefits Committee, Bank of America Corporation
- President, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Mukesh Ambani has been listed consistently as India's richest man for over a decade by Forbes Magazine. In addition to this, he is the only businessman of India on Forbe's list of the world's most powerful people. In January 2018, he was ranked 18 by the Forbe's in its list of the wealthiest person in the world. In 2018, he surpassed Jack Ma, becoming Asia's richest person with a net worth of $44.3 billion. Outside North America and Europe, Mukesh Ambani the wealthiest person in the world. In the year 2015, China's Hurun Research Institute ranked Mukesh Ambani as fifth among India's philanthropists. He also became the first non-American to be the Director of Bank of America. In 2012, Forbes listed him among the richest sports owners in the world.
On November 11, 2020, Mukesh Ambani ranked third in the seventh edition of EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List 2020 with a donation of ₹458 crores, Jagran Josh reported.
Mukesh Ambani's net worth
According to the Bloomberg ranking, Ambani's current net worth is $76.5 billion (Rs 5.63 lakh crore), down from nearly $90 billion (Rs 6.62 lakh crore) earlier this year.
At present, the RIL top boss is the 11th richest person in the world bellow Larry Ellison of Oracle Corporation and Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, who stood at 10th and 9th position respectively with $79.2 billion net worth.
The drop in Mukesh Ambani's net worth is because of the correction in RIL shares, which have fallen nearly 16% from its all-time high of Rs 2,369.35 touched after the announcement of its deal to buy retail and wholesale assets of Future group. On Thursday, shares of RIL closed at Rs 1,994.15. Over the last two months RIL shares have witnessed profit booking after US ecommerce giant Amazon challenged its deal with Future group. Amazon says its 2019 deal in which it invested nearly $200 million in Future Coupons, a Future group company, had clauses saying the Kishore Biyani-led group could not sell its retail assets to anyone on a “restricted persons” list, which included Reliance.
‘National asset’ Mukesh Ambani has India’s highest security rating
It’s no secret that many of the rich and famous have bodyguards surrounding them at all times. Overzealous fans and security threats mean they have to take their safety seriously, and none more so than the multi-billionaire chairman and managing director of India’s Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani.
Not only does Ambani have a private security team, but his Z+ security status means his guards are armed and on duty 24/7.
|One of the guards outside the Ambani home. Photo: @w.hasmukh/Instagram|
The Indian government provides security details to high-ranking officials including judges, governors and politicians. These details are divided into four security categories that dictate the number of personnel, cars and weapons provided as protection. The highest category is Z+, which is only granted in rare circumstances, such as for the Indian prime minister himself. This category has only ever been granted to 17 people in India.
The decision to provide Ambani with government security was met with much criticism. The Indian government was accused of being elitist and allowing people to “buy” protection. In court documents, the government defended the decision by referencing death threats Ambani has allegedly received.
Although Ambani is provided with 24-hour protection, he has to foot the bill for the elite National Security Guards himself. This is estimated to be around US$22,000 a month. Ambani also has to provide barracks for the staff, including living quarters, toilets and cooking facilities.
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