Mukesh Ambani is the son of Dhirubhai Ambani, the late patriarch of the Reliance Empire. Dhirubhai Ambani established his huge business house, realizing the tale of rags to riches, and passed on the company to his able sons, Mukesh and Anil. The two brothers were initially together. But they couldn't get along and in 2005 their mother brokered a peace settlement, breaking up the family’s assets. At present, Mukesh Ambani is the Chairman, Managing director and the largest shareholder of Reliance Industries, India’s largest private sector enterprise and a Fortune 500 company. Forbes (2009) list of the world’s billionaires named him the richest man in India and the 7th richest man in the world, having a net worth of $19.5 Billion. Mukesh also owns the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team, Mumbai Indians. He brought the team for $111.9 million.
Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani was born on April 19, 1957 at Mumbai. Being the first child, he received all the love and attention of his parents. His father was keen on providing an all-round development to his four children. Once, he placed an advertisement in the newspaper for a teacher, but specified that the person should not only concentrate on the academic syllabus, he would also have to impart general knowledge. He interviewed several persons and selected Mahendrabhai Vyas, who taught at the New Era School. Mahendrabhai would come every evening to the Ambanis' house and stay with the children till 7 pm. The children would study, play, watch matches, chat and laugh, and learn the values of life from their revered teacher.
Mukesh's yet another companion was his father, who shared with him his passion for business and entrepreneurship. Even when Mukesh was in high school, he used to spend long hours at his father's office on weekends. After completing his schooling at Abaay Morischa School in Mumbai, Mukesh completed his Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Bombay. Now he decided to pursue a MBA from Stanford University USA.
While he was at Stanford, his father's company, Reliance, got a license to make polyester. It was early 80s, and during that time the World Bank's Young Professional's Programme (YPP) was quite famous. Mukesh was keen to pursue the prestigious YPP after completing his MBA. All this would take him a year and a half, after which he would return to India, to work on the polyester plant. But his father was to start work on the polyester plant right away. So, Mukesh decided to return to India immediately.
So, in 1981, Mukesh joined Reliance. This was a period when Reliance was at the threshold of becoming a large corporation. Mukesh heeded his father's word, and immersed himself completely in the running of the business. He got involved in Reliance’s initiative of manufacturing polyester fibers and petrochemicals. When he started work on setting up a polyester filament yarn project, his Chemical Engineering and business school background helped him in organising the work and keeping the workers motivated.
Mukesh was instrumental in building more than 60 world-class manufacturing facilities. This significant contribution from Mukesh raised Reliance's manufacturing capacities from less than a million tonnes to twelve million tonnes per year. Mukesh directed and led the creation of the world's largest grassroots petroleum refinery at Jamnagar, in the State of Gujarat, India. The refinery has a capacity of 33 million tonnes per year.
Mukesh made his father's dream come true when he launched Reliance Infocom Limited in 2002. It grew as the largest and most complex information and communications technology initiative in the world. Reliance Infocom has been renamed as Reliance Communications Limited, and is now under Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Under Mukesh’s guidance and leadership, Reliance has entered retail business through its wholly owned subsidiary - Reliance Retail. Reliance Retail has launched a new chain called Delight stores, and has also signed a letter of intent with NOVA Chemicals to make energy efficient structures for Reliance Retail.
Mukesh's greatest accolade came in 2004 when he was ranked 13th in Asia's Power 25 list of The Most Powerful People in Business, published by the Fortune magazine. The Asia Society, Washington D.C., USA, conferred on him the Asia Society Leadership Award in May 2004. He was chosen Telecom Man of the year 2004 by Voice and Data magazine. In the same year, Mukesh was also conferred the World Communication Award for the Most Influential Person in Telecommunications. He was ranked 42nd among the World's Most Respected Business Leaders, and second among the four Indian CEOs featured in a survey conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and published in Financial Times, London, in November 2004.
In 2007, Mukesh was chosen the Businessman of the Year by a public poll in India conducted by NDTV. The same year, he was also conferred the United States-India Business Council (USIBC) leadership award for "Global Vision". Mukesh was recorded as the first Trillionaire in India, in June 2007. Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, awarded him the Chitralekha Person of the Year Award in 2007.
Mukesh Ambani is also known for his political inclination and achievements. He was the first Indian to meet with Barak Obama after Obama became president of the United States. Mukesh Ambani is a member of the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry, Government of India, and the Board of Governors of the National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi. He is a member of the Indo-US CEOs Forum, the International Advisory Board of Citigroup, International Advisory Board of the National Board of Kuwait and McKinsey Advisory Council.
Besides these responsibilities, Mukesh Ambani also carries out his duties in the educational field. He is the Chairman, Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Graduate School of Business of the Stanford University.
At home, Mukesh Ambani is a complete family man, spending quality time with his wife, Nita Ambani, and two children, Akash and Isha. Nita Ambani runs the Dhirubhai Ambani International School and the Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, both funded by the Dhirubhai Ambani Foundation, a Mumbai-based charity. At present, Ahash and Isha are studying in USA. Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Petroleum Limited and Reliance Retail Limited, and a Director of Reliance Europe Limited, is rightly considered by many experts as Dhirubhai's Protégé.