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Who will be his successor?

Mukesh Ambani has evolved a perfect plan to divide his empire among three children. Each one gets what she or he desired, and each fiefdom is as large as that of the others. But has India’s richest billionaire got it right? Alam Srinivas reports
The best solution for business family succession is for the patriarch or matriarch to consciously and deliberately decide to shun management, and transform into mere investors. In such cases, the owners are only worried about the returns on their investments, and pass on the operational baton to the professional managers. Globally, several founder families, including renowned names with centuries-old traditions and legacy, have managed this change. In recent times, we see this successively and successfully in start-ups and technology companies, where the founders, co-founders, and original investors retain their designations, but give up control to professionals.
However, it isn’t easy. In fact, it is almost-impossible for the second, third, and fourth generations to adhere to such succession, even if the founders are able to take such tough decisions. In India, the general norm is for the family members to not let go, or bounce back at the expense of the professionals, who are booted out with contempt. So, for every example of Azim Premji, who transferred his ownership in the Wipro Group into a trust and saved a miniscule part for his family, there are scores of other examples, where the family just wouldn’t give up. In India, the majority of listed and unlisted companies are still family-run, with a few exceptions like ITC and L&T.

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gfiles is the country’s first independent magazine written, designed and produced for India’s civil services—the vast and formidable network of bureaucracies and public sector organisations that provide continuity and stability to this nation’s governance.

Every month this niche market product reaches 76,800 individuals with a universe of more than 3,50,000 readers.

Its exclusive audience consists of the men and women who lead the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), the Indian Police Service (IPS), the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Class I Union Services, as well as a host of Allied Services.

gfiles magazine edited by India’s senior most journalists who have made an intensive study of the reading preferences of decision makers and implementers in government services.

The magazine—with substantial contributions from serving and retired officers—is uniquely designed to engage the bureaucrat’s attention in the entire content.

It has therefore been divided into sections according to the specific reading needs of this target audience. While these readers flip through newspapers and general magazines, they read gfiles from page to page.

This is because gfiles magazine provides not only exclusive news unavailable anywhere else in the media or the Internet, but also focuses exclusively on the future, anticipating events and developments.

It contains detailed, extensive, and accurate reports about transfers and postings.

It features interviews, case studies, snippets, retirement profiles, financial planning advice, political changes, as well as birthdays and alumni tracking.

gfiles magazine cuts through rumour mills and hearsay and helps India’s civil servants reach out to one another, share and become acquainted with their issues, practical problems, everyday challenges and the intricacies of their working environment.

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