Mukesh Ambani preparing succession plan for billion-dollar empire: Report
- Mukesh Ambani is looking to make a succession plan for his $208 billion empire
- He is said to be considering the Walton family playbook
- He is planning to shift the family's holdings into a trust-like structure
Mukesh Ambani, one of Asia’s richest men and the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd, is said to be putting together a succession plan for his $208 billion empire that stretches from oil refineries to petrochemicals to telecom, according to a Bloomberg report.
The 64-year-old billionaire has learned significant lessons about succession plans from his own family’s experience and has been studying succession plans of billionaire families for years. With his decades of experience, Mukesh Ambani is expected to consider the Walton family playbook as the framework for one of the biggest-ever transfers of wealth in recent times.
The Walton family playbook draws from the framework put together by Sam Walton, the founder of the world’s biggest retailer Walmart Inc. The Walton family playbook is a simple succession model to keep the family central but delegating management.
Mukesh Ambani, who has a net worth of over $94 billion, hasn’t said anything officially about stepping away from his responsibilities so far. But sources close to the developments who spoke to Bloomberg said that it is apparent from the company’s current functioning that the billionaire is actively looking to prepare a succession plan.
As per the company’s filings, the Ambani family's current share in Reliance Industries has increased to 50.6% from 47.27% in March 2019.
Addressing the company's annual general meeting (AGM) in June, Mukesh Ambani had indicated that his children will now hold a prominent position in the family's vast empire. He said that he is confident that the next generation of leaders at Reliance, led by Isha, Akash, and Anant, will further enrich this precious legacy.
Mukesh Ambani’s twin children Akash and Isha, are both active in the group's new-age ventures line Reliance retail and Jio telecom. In 2014, they both were appointed as directors on the boards of RIL's telecom and retail businesses.
Anant Ambani is currently serving as a director at Jio Platforms Ltd, which is a fully-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries. He is also heading the renewable energy and oil and chemical units of Reliance as a director.
Walton family succession plan
Founded by American businessman Sam Walton and owned by Walton Family, Walmart is the largest retailer in the world. Sam’s son Rob Walton and his nephew Steuart Walton, are both part of the Walmart board. In 2015, Sam's grandson-in-law Greg Penner was appointed as the company chairman.
Sam had started planning for the succession around 40 years before he died. He divided 80% of the business among his four children — Alice, Rob, Jim, and John. This saved the empire from collapsing and the Walton family from paying minimum estate taxes. Even today, the Walton family owns about 47% of Walmart via trusts and Walton Enterprises LLC.
Mukesh Ambani's succession plan
From what has been revealed so far, Mukesh Ambani is planning to shift the family’s holdings into a trust-like structure, to ensure a smooth transfer. The trust will assume complete control of Reliance Industries. All of Mukesh Ambani’s family members, including wife Nita Ambani and children Akash, Isha and Anant will be on the board of this new entity.
Mukesh Ambani's close allies may also be included in the board of the entity overseeing the Reliance empire. The Ambani succession playbook will appoint external professionals to largely handle the main operations of the company.