When Dhirubhai Ambani started Reliance Industries in the year 1966, little did he know that one day his small polyester venture would turn out to be a multi-billion-dollar empire, churning a turnover of over 5 billion dollars in the year 2019. As the years passed, the company expanded from its original field of polyester to petrochemical sectors, power generation and the telecom industry. In the early years of Reliance’s surge into the Indian market, it was Dhirubhai Ambani’s oldest son who helped his father take the company to greater heights; a feat that he has continued to achieve, ever since.
Mukesh Ambani was born on 19 April 1957 in what is present-day Yemen. Young Mukesh received his higher school education from Hill Grange High School in Mumbai and graduated in Chemical Engineering from the Institute Of Chemical Technology, Mumbai. Later on, he enrolled in an MBA program from Stanford University, USA only to be called back to India by his father to help with the growth of their company. Since the beginning of the 80s, Mukesh started working his way up the company handling important projects under his father’s guidance, readying himself for the responsibilities that the future would soon demand.
In 1990’s Mukesh Ambani earned a reputation for himself as his work started getting into the limelight. At the age of 24, he was given his first major project of construction of a petrochemical plant in Patalganga. He won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the year 2000, a foreshadowing of the marvel that was yet to come. Unfortunately, in 2002 the Ambani family was devastated when Dhirubhai Ambani died, suffering a stroke. His death sparked a feud of epic proportions; a fight between the two industry titans biting and scratching for the control of the company.
This fight inevitably led to the split that gave Mukesh Ambani the control of oil, gas, petrochemicals, refining and manufacturing. As we all know, it was Mukesh who emerged victorious, having to bail his brother out of debt, just recently, thus ending the decades long feud that brought havoc and turmoil on the Ambani household.
In the year 2004, Reliance industries had a net profit of more than $1 billion and Mukesh Ambani was ranked 40th in world business leader at that time. In 2007, the company had raised around Rs.3,188 crore through sale of 1.50 crore of its equity shares. Later, under his guidance the world’s largest grassroots petroleum refinery was created, one that could produce 660,000 barrels per day in 2010. In the same year he received numerous accolades for his work and was ranked as 5th best performing global CEO.
In year 2013, Reliance signed a $2 billion equivalent loan with nine banks as a part of an ambitious venture. This loan was primarily used to finance goods and services produced for expansion of petrochemical projects at Jamnagar, Hazira, Silvassa, Daheji in India. Mukesh Ambani’s visions and perseverance helped him built businesses of scale which any other company would fear to take on. He further expanded his business in the Telecom industry by launching Jio 4G smartphones in the year 2016 under the name LYF. This was India’s third largest selling mobile brand. The launch of Jio 4G service was, albeit extremely risky, a tremendous success.
This just sheds light on the incredible risk assessment and risk-taking capability that Mukesh Ambani has; the vision and the guts to implement what you see as a future is a quality as rare as a clean rainbow on a stormy day. Eventually this risky maneuver raised the company shares to record breaking heights and also sparked a price-war in India’s hyper competitive telecom market, one that Jio seems to be winning as of today.
Alongside his business, he owns an IPL team Mumbai Indians and is the owner of Indian super league, a football league. As of in 2019 he became the world’s richest sports team owner. Well, it seems like making headline has become a common-day activity for him.
It is said that a man is defined by the journey he takes and not the destination. Mukesh Ambani has spent over 40 years in the industry learning, growing and being the best businessman that this country has in today’s times And it is his journey that has taken a family that started off in a 2 BHK apartment in Bhuleshwar, to a 27 storeyed symbol of his empire in the nation’s financial capital, his house is named after the mythical island Antilia and is deemed to be world’s most expensive private home and as of 2020 it is valued at $2.2 billon. It is something that most people would only dream of possessing.
His business decisions have surpassed those of his counterparts, keeping everyone on their toes. And it is his marvelous journey, one of clever decisions, strategic thinking and impeccable foresight that has thrust him into the spotlight, molded him into the titan who is, if not revered, envied by all and it is the reason why Mukesh Ambani is the world’s 4th richest man (as of 8th August, 2020) and asia’s 1st richest man with a net worth of $80.6 billion. And with this year being as unpredictable as they come, I am sure we all have one question nudging us at the back of our minds, what will he do next?