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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 July 2024

Ambani scions Akash, Isha and Anant get shareholder nod for appointment on Reliance board

Twins Isha and Akash, 32, got over 98 per cent of votes for being appointed on the board of Reliance while Anant, 28, got 92.75 per cent votes

PTI New Delhi Published 27.10.23, 12:13 PM

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's three children won approval of shareholders for being part of the board of Reliance Industries Ltd, setting in motion a succession plan at India's most valuable company.

While twins Akash and Isha, 32, got more than 98 per cent of the votes for a board seat, Anant, 28, whose appointment had been opposed by proxy advisory firms because of his young age, managed to get 92.7 per cent votes, according to a stock exchange filing of the company.

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Company chairman Mukesh Ambani, 66, had at the company's annual shareholders meeting in August announced that his three children Akash, Isha and Anant would be inducted into Reliance's board of directors (BoD).

He had also stated that he would continue to be the chairman and CEO of the company for five more years, with a focus on grooming and empowering its 'next-gen' leaders.

Thereafter, Reliance sent out a postal ballot to shareholders seeking a nod for their appointment as board of directors of the company. The results of the shareholder vote were posted by Reliance on Friday.

The filing showed Isha got 98.21 per cent votes in favour of her appointment and 1.78 per cent in against. Akash got 98.05 per cent votes in favour and 1.94 per cent in against. Anant got 92.75 per cent favourable votes but 41.58 crore or 7.24 per cent voted against his appointment.

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc, an international proxy advisory firm, had recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal to appoint Ambani's youngest son Anant on the board of the family-controlled Reliance.

The proxy advisory firm had pitched for a vote against Anant because of his little experience.

Like ISS, Mumbai-based Institutional Investor Advisory Services, or IIAS, too stated that "at 28 years of age", appointment of the young Ambani scion "does not align with our voting guidelines".

IIAS supported the proposals seeking to elect Isha and Akash. Glass Lewis, another international proxy firm, voted in favour of Anant's appointment.

The board appointments are a part of the succession planning by Ambani, who was appointed to the Reliance board in 1977 at the age of 20 and had to tackle a bitter fraternal feud after his father died without a will in 2002.

Akash has been working at telecom/digital arm Reliance Jio Infocomm since 2014 and is currently its chairman, while Isha is driving the expansion of the retail business as an executive director of Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd. Both have presented to shareholders at the flagship's annual shareholder meeting in the past few years.

Anant is said to be leading the expansion of energy and materials businesses, especially green energy.

The scions will be paid only a fee for attending board and committee meetings, the company had said previously in a resolution seeking shareholder nod for their appointment on its board.

While Ambani, 66, drew nil salary from the company since the 2020-21 fiscal year, other executive directors including his cousins Nikhil and Hital are paid a salary, perquisites, allowances and commission.

His three children -- twins Akash and Isha, and Anant -- will get only a sitting fee and a commission on the profit earned by the firm.

The terms of the appointment of the three are the same as the ones on which Ambani's wife Nita was appointed to the company board in 2014. She earned a sitting fee of Rs 6 lakh and a commission of Rs 2 crore in the 2022-23 fiscal year (April 2022 to March 2023).

Reliance has five broad verticals -- the oil-to-chemical (O2C) business that houses the world's largest single-location refining complex and petrochemical plants, telecom and digital business, retail (both physical and online), new energy, and recently launched financial services.

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