Cover Story

Who will be the successor of Mukesh Ambani?

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 Alam Srinivas
Enter Vol.14 ISSUE 7-9 DECEMBER 2020

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.

Take the case of Infosys, where the original founders slowly weaned away from the software giant. But within no time, at the first sign of a crisis, the board invited back one of them, Narayan Murthy, to stabilize the operations. Murthy, who had this image of a humble andtransparent businessman with middle-class values, got his son involved in Infosys. A similar thing happened in the case of Tata Group, where the owner-promoter, Ratan Tata, launched a global search for a professional successor, and honed in on Cyrus Mistry, whose family was the largest single shareholder in Tata Sons, the holding parent company. Within no time, Cyrus was out, and Ratan Tata was back in.

In other cases, the lack of succession planning, or despite it, led to public battles that were fought by family members to demand their share of the overall wealth. The business groups splintered and atomized; many vanished or became ghosts of their former selves. This was indeed what happened to former business families such as Modi, Dalmia, and even Birla (only one of the factions led by KM Birla thrived). Brothers fought brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces from various sides went to the courts to demand their pound of corporate flesh, and grandchildren had issues with their patriarchs. Globally, as in India, problems with succession planning are the biggest reasons for corporate demises.

Unfortunately, the Ambani family, the richest in India, and among the top five in the world, too went into a tailspin because of this reason. The patriarch, Dhirubhai, did not leave a will as he was convinced that his two sons – daughters were married and had no say in the family business – would never fight for power and supremacy. Within a few months after his death, elder Mukesh and Anil went on a warpath that was largely hidden from the public and shareholders’ view for two years. In late 2004, the sibling rivalry and war became a public spat. The Reliance Group split a few months later; Mukesh retained the energy assets, and Anil got telecom, power, and financial services.

Most business families go through personal crises, especially the ones related to succession. The final division of the spoils can be bitter, messy, vengeful and manipulative. In most cases, this shouldn’t bother us. But if the companies are listed on the stock exchanges, have millions of shareholders, and are crucial players in the national economy, we need to worry. Think of the implications. For many business empires have vanished or decimated after their carve-ups.

Corporate governance, they say, is as crucial as political governance. This is because of the manner in which economics impacts politics, and vice versa. If a nation’s businesses are in a bad shape, it will find it tougher to either look after public interest or serve the needs of the poor. Succession battles within business families are a key barometer of business ethics and morality. Splits in corporate empires have to be watched carefully, analysed insightfully, and debated truthfully.

No wonder, when news filtered out that the three children of Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest billionaire and World’s No. 11 (as on November 27), were allocated independent businesses, it became national and global

headlines. Speculation was rife that Mukesh, unlike his late father Dhirubhai, had a succession plan in place. The 63-year-old part-inheritor was keen to guide his two sons and a daughter to inherit different corner-rooms over the next decade or so.

It seems like an ideal division—each being prepared for a business that’s as large as that of the others. Isha gets retail, Akash technology, and Anant oil-and-gas. There is no question of one getting less than the others. Mukesh emerges as a visionary, who expanded and built three areas of operations, which were in sync with the number of kids he has

While senior executives in the Reliance Industries downplay this supposed family separation, or at least  the beginnings of it, they admit that the news is partially correct. Today, Isha, the only daughter and eldest child, is involved largely with Reliance Retail. Akash, her younger twin brother, is intimately concerned with Jio Platforms. Anant, the youngest, is the CSR-philanthropy face of the business empire, and works closely with senior managers in the oil-and-gas operations.

Sounds perfect! It seems like an ideal division—each being prepared for a business that’s as large as that of the others. Isha gets retail, Akash technology, and Anant oil-and-gas. There is no question of one getting less than the others. Mukesh emerges as a visionary, who expanded and built three areas of operations, which were in sync with the number of kids he has. More important, as Reliance managers are at pains to point out, the father didn’t have to work out the plan.

“Since he was a kid, Anant spent a lot of time in Jamnagar. He was always interested in the welfare of the workers, as also the refinery operations. Akash was a tech-savvy child. It was natural for him to get into Jio. Isha was interested in consumer psychology—why and how people make their buying decisions. Retail became her passion,” explains a senior manager. It is only when he is questioned a bit more that he spills out the beans, and reveals the grey areas as they exist today.

Reliance insiders and media reports suggest Isha is active in Jio. She and her twin brother flew regularly to Facebook headquarters during the negotiations which ended with FB’s purchaseof 9.99% stake in the telecom venture. Her prominence in retail was evident when her statement was released after Reliance Retail took over Kishore Biyani’s Future Group. There is a convergence between retail and telecom in the form of Ajio, the fashion portal, and e-commerce venture, JioMart.

Along with Anant, Isha is a regular participant in the group’s welfare schemes. The youngest son is part of Ambani’s Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee, which was formed after the Uttarakhand state government sought help. It was Anant, say media reports, who handed over a cheque for flood relief work to Maharashtra’s former chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis. However, Isha set up Reliance Arts Foundation, and is Additional Director, Reliance Foundation.

In comparison, Akash seems to be on an independent trajectory. He is clearly the senior player among the siblings in Jio Platforms. He is both a member of the company’s Executive Committee, and “part of the governing and operating body”. More important, his areas of indulgence in the telecom firm relate to “product development, messaging and chat, and other digital services applications”. These are key functions for any tech-digital enterprise.

Whatever insiders may contend, the oil-and-gas business is monitored by father Mukesh. It is the bread-and-butter area which has financed the growth and expansion of both telecom and retail. More important, it was built by the late patriarch, Dhirubhai, and the family, especially Mukesh, is emotionally attached to it. Remember, when he separated from his younger brother, Anil, he fought aggressively to prevent its break-up. Anil had demanded a slice of the oil-and-gas pie.

Now that we are clear about the yet-to-be-concrete succession plan and the situation on the ground, we can analyse the challenges that can crop up in the future. Succession-planning is an art and science. It is not a set of figures like a balance sheet. It’s like a combination of strategy and tactics, which needs to be fine-tuned regularly. Anything can go wrong at any time. There are no certainties and guarantees that it will work. Succession-planning is always a work-in-progress.

Most companies don’t have a succession plan in place and operate with two or more family members as joint CEOs or MDs. Worse, the senior managers in these firms expect the situation to continue after the death of the matriarch or patriarch. The fact is that during the period, when two or more children operate as joint co-heads, while the father or mother is alive, the executives get close to one of them, and want them to remain a co-head 

Isha Ambani

When the Reliance Industries Group launched its telecom venture in early 2000s, the two Ambani brothers (then together, later estranged, now reconciled), elder Mukesh and Anil, gave credit to their late patriarch, father Dhirubhai. The siblings claimed that it was their father’s vision to offer voice calls at the price of a postcard. After Mukesh started Jio, he said that the idea came from his eldest child, Isha. When the daughter came from the US for her holidays in 2011, she urged her father to connect Indians through broadband to enhance data usage.

In both cases, the advice worked like a charm. In the early 2000s, Reliance became the cheapest mobile voice-call provider, as is the case with its data services now. In 2011, India ranked 155 on the global broadband consumption index; today, it is at the top. In fact, Isha, the youngest billionaire heiress, who is married to businessman Anand Piramal, is a director at Reliance Jio Infocomm. Her main business interest lies in Reliance Retail, and she set up Reliance Arts Foundation, which aims to showcase Indian art across the world.

Isha, whose wedding in 2018 made headlines, largely because of the celebrity guests like the US politician Hillary Clinton and Indian-Hollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, is an Ivy League graduate. She got her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Yale, and an MBA degree from Stanford. She is committed to work with women to provide opportunities to them in a bid to change their lives through digital products. Isha believes that when underprivileged women get digital access, they will manage better employment opportunities.

 

 

Who knows this better than Mukesh. He fought with Anil in the early years of this century during their public spat to divide the business empire. This was because Dhirubhai did not leave a will, and he did not do so primarily for two reasons. The first is that most fathers and mothers, however evolved they might be, are unable to grapple with their imminent deaths. They continue to hold on to businesses, even if it is inevitably the time for the transfer of power.

Mukesh has partially decided not to do so. But he is hesitant to let go of the segments related to oil exploration, refinery, and petrochemicals. Although Jio witnessed huge cash infusion through sales of holdings to global tech giants, most of it is to repay the group’s debt. In future, if Jio or Reliance Retail needs funds, it will come from oil and gas. This explains the father’s insistence to hold on to them. Most patriarchs find some excuse to retain control for a longer period.

The second reason why Dhirubhai possibly did not leave a will is the age-old and widespread tendency among the parents to be equally fair to their children, and yet driven by the desire to protect the family’s assets and wealth. This implies that they know that only one of the sons or daughters is capable to manage the business. Still, they need to divide the spoils so that no one gets more than the others. In such situations, they opt for an extremely fragile system of co-authority.

Akash Ambani

Most Indians, as also foreigners, remember Akash, the twin brother of Isha, who was regularly seen on the cricket field. Now, he isn’t a cricketer, although like most Indian children he played the game as a child. Years ago, the eldest son of Mukesh and Nita Ambani, took over the responsibility to manage Mumbai Indians, one of the eight city franchisees in the Indian premier League which is owned by the Reliance Industries Group. Since then, he emerged as one of the brains – he is the Chief of Strategy – behind the group’s telecom strategy. He and his sister, Isha, were involved in the several negotiations when Jio sold minority stakes to the world’s leading technology conglomerates. An undergraduate from Brown University (US), Akash, is married to Shloka Mehta, the daughter of the country’s richest diamond trader, Russell Mehta. The marriage of these school friends took place in 2019, and the engagement a year before was held in Goa. After the engagement, the future couple went to Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple to seek blessings from Lord Ganesha. The family is a devotee of this god.

 

Studies show that this is a global trend. Most companies don’t have a succession plan in place and operate with two or more family members as joint CEOs or MDs. Worse, the senior managers in these firms expect status quo after the death of the matriarch or patriarch. The fact is that during the period, when two or more children operate as joint co-heads, while the father or mother is alive, the executives get close to one of them, and want them to remain a co-head.

This was the case in the Reliance Group when Dhirubhai was alive. Both Mukesh and Anil were designated as Joint MDs of the cash cow, Reliance Industries. At that time, it was said that they took decisions together, after consultations with their father. Theyenjoyed equal power. But with two CEOs, so to say, in place, the managers were divided into two camps—some were close to Mukesh and others to Anil. This was reflected when the two brothers fought each other.

At present, the co-working of Isha and Akash in Jio seems to be similar to what happened in Reliance Industries. The same is the case with Anant and Isha’s joint involvement in the group’s CSR and philanthropy affairs. The idea is that if the children work together and closely in different areas, and still enjoy independence in what they manage, they are less likely to split. However, the Mukesh-Anil affair, as also the case with other business families, shows that this isn’t true.

The tensions between Mukesh and Anil were eased by their mother Kokilaben, and a clutch of old Dhirubhai loyalists, whom the sons referred to as uncles. Only the latter enjoyed the respect of the two brothers, and were willing to listen to them more patiently  

Some patriarchs wriggle out of their inability to pinpoint a successor by playing around with designations of their children. Others, like Mukesh, divide their empire into distinct entities that are either managed or seen to be the domain of the different kids. Dhirubhai took the former route when he anointed Mukesh as the Vice-Chairman of Reliance Industries, even as the two brothers were Joint MDs. The Modi clan (the Modi group of industries) took the latter one with companies managed by different brothers and cousins.

Both are unstable mechanisms when it comes to leadership. As long as the parents are alive, things seem smooth. The problems arise after their deaths. The brothers, sisters and cousins tussle over who gets more wealth. Each one demands a higher share; each one feels that his or her contribution was more, or the same, as the others. They collectively think that while the group was set up by one person, the patriarch, it was expanded by all the members of their generation.

In the case of the Ambanis, Mukesh insisted that he was the one who built the gigantic refineries and petrochemical plants. He was the brain behind Reliance’s initial entry into telecom and he was the force that drove the group to get into the risky business of oil exploration. Hence, he had the right to a larger share. He wanted to retain the cash cow, Reliance Industries, and give the smaller pieces, like telecom, power and financial services, to the younger brother.

Anil retaliated. He maintained that his political acumen, which he learnt from the father, enabled the group to thrive despite odds. He provided the energy that enabled Reliance to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from overseas and domestic investors. He managed the media, which kept the group’s credibility high. Without these inputs, the businesses would have collapsed under their own weight. Apart from the smaller components, he wanted Reliance Industries to be split.

Anant Ambani

Recently, in a keynote address at a huge corporate celebration to mark Reliance Industries’ listing on the stock exchange and grandfather Dhirubhai’s birth anniversary, Anant claimed, “Our founder, Chairman Dhirubhai used to always say that relationships are everything, the rest are minor details. Aaj main aap sabhi se dil ka sambandh banana chahta hoon (Today, I wish to establish a connection with you from the heart). For me, to serve the Reliance family is the most important mission of my life. India should lead the change and Reliance should be at the forefront of that change. Reliance meri jaan hai (Reliance is my life).” The youngest son of Mukesh, he studied at Brown University, and is involved with the Mumbai Indians team. He has no Twitter or FB accounts, and spends most of his time at Reliance Industries’ refinery-cum-petrochemical complex at Jamnagar. He is involved with Corporate Social Responsibility in the area, and has now become involved with the business operations. A real estate corridor in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, which is owned and operated by Reliance Industries and Maker Group, is likely to get a luxury resort hotel that will be built by the Oberoi Group. According to a media report, it will be dubbed Anantvilas, after Anant’s name. In March 2019, Anant was nominated as a member of the Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee, which was set up by Uttarakhand Chief Minister TS Rawat. There are 30 other members, who include BJP politicians, social activists, and individuals from government corporations and bodies. During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Anant was spotted at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Mumbai. “I am here to listen to Prime Minister Modi and support the nation.” Another key achievement of his is that he lost a staggering 108 kg in less than 18 months. With a medical history of chronic asthma, the weight gain was due to drugs. In 2014, he decided to take control of his health, and worked towards weight loss in natural and safe ways, with a strict diet and exercise regimen.

 

Media reports and Reliance insiders indicate Mukesh has adopted the first approach—grow three entities in a manner that each child can manage

a single business independently. However, as the Modi clash in the 1980s and 1990s proves, this strategy can fail. Despite their hold over different companies, the brothers and cousins were not satisfied with the wealth they got. They wanted a higher share, especially as the group companies were on different growth curves.

Family battles over wealth get complicated because of emotional issues. Communication is crucial. While the parents are alive, it seems intact. During Dhirubhai’s time, insiders claimed that Mukesh and Anil understood each other and knew exactly what was happening within the group. The common saying was that if you met one of the brothers for lunch, where a sentence was left incomplete, the other would complete it when you met him for dinner the same night.

 

Similar things are said about Isha, Akash and Anant. “There is a family tradition that the members surely get together for dinner on most days. Information and views are exchanged over the table. As Isha and Akash work together in Jio, they talk to each other on a regular basis. This is why the twins were jointly involved in the negotiations with FB. Mukesh Bhai does the same with his senior managers; they talk and discuss critical issues late into the night,” says an insider.

However, past experiences, even within the Ambani family, prove that such communication can snap quite quickly. This is because after the patriarch’s death, the spouses and loyalists get into the game. In many cases, the spouses may not like each other and influence the minds of their wives and husbands. The co-management structure during patriarch’s era splits the group’s executives, who now find it convenient to poison the minds of their respective new bosses.

Within no time, yawning divisions appear and the emotional cracks deepen. The personal crevices impact business decisions, especially those related to division of assets. Cooperation turns into a dog-eat-dog kind of competition and none of the siblings wishes to step back, even an inch. During the height of the Mukesh-Anil fight, the younger brother told journalists that only if the so-called loyalists could be sent away on a faraway cruise, he could mend ways with Mukesh.

Emotional challenges have to be sorted out by personal efforts. The tensions between Mukesh and Anil were eased by their mother Kokilaben, and a clutch of old Dhirubhai loyalists, whom the sons referred to as uncles. Only the latter enjoyed the respect of the two brothers, and were willing to listen to them more patiently. Such personalised support systems are necessary to iron out succession issues. Otherwise, the whole empire can crash.

 

At the end of the day, succession battles are decided by legacies and values. To a large extent, it depends on what the patriarch leaves behind in terms of ethics and life-philosophy. One can dispute it, but Mukesh and Anil grew up amidst consistent corporate rivalries, as their father vanquished one enemy after another to emerge as the most powerful businessman. They imbibed the feeling that one should not, and could not, give any leeway to an opponent, real or imagined. Hopefully, this isn’t true about the present generation. G

 

Meet the people who run Reliance Industries

Board of Directors, 

Mukesh D. Ambani, Chairman

Mukesh D. Ambani (DIN 00001695) (Chairman) is a Chemical Engineer from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai (erstwhile the University Department of Chemical Technology, University of Mumbai). He pursued an MBA from Stanford University in the US. He has been on the Board of Reliance since 1977. He initiated Reliance’s backward integration journey – from textiles to polyester fibres and further onto petrochemicals and petroleum refining, and going upstream into oil and gas exploration and production. He created multiple new world-class manufacturing facilities involving diverse technologies that have raised Reliance’s petrochemicals manufacturing capacities from less than a million tonnes to about 21 million tonnes per year.

Nita M. Ambani (Wife of Mukesh Ambani) , Non-Executive, Non -Independent Director

Nita M. Ambani (DIN 03115198) is a Commerce Graduate from Mumbai niversity and a Diploma Holder in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Ambani is a   businesswoman, educationist, philanthropist and  a strong proponent of sports.

She is the Founder & Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, which  has impacted the lives of over 26 million people across India, through its initiatives in Rural Transformation, Health, Education, Sports for Development, Disaster Response, Arts, Culture & Heritage and Urban Renewal.

Hital R. Meswani , Executive Director

Hital Meswani is an Executive Director on the Board of Reliance. A chemical engineer from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and an alumnus of Wharton Business School, he joined Reliance in 1990. He leads the petroleum refining, manufacturing, and research & technology activities of the organisation. He was instrumental in the successful execution of several mega projects, including the Hazira petrochemicals complex and the world’s largest refinery complex at Jamnagar.

He is a Director of Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings and Reliance Commercial Dealers; the Chairman of the Audit Committee of Reliance Industrial Investments and Holdings; and a member of the Audit Committee of Reliance Commercial Dealers. He is also a member of the Finance Committee and Shareholders’/Investors’ Grievance Committee,  and the Chairman of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee of the company.

Nikhil R. Meswani, Executive Director

Nikhil R. Meswani (DIN 00001620) is a chemical engineer and the son of Rasiklal Meswani, one of the Founder Directors of the Company. He joined Reliance in 1986, and since July 01, 1988, he has been a Whole-time Director, designated as Executive Director, on the Board of the Company. He is primarily responsible for the petrochemicals division,  and has made major contributions towards Reliance becoming a global leader in petrochemicals. Between 1997 and 2005, he handled the refinery business of the company.

He is a member of Corporate Social Responsibility and Governance Committee, Finance Committee, and Stakeholders’ Relationship Committee of the Company. He is also a Director of Reliance Commercial Dealers Limited., Chairman of its Audit Committee, and a member of its Nomination and Remuneration Committee and Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.

P.M.S. Prasad. Executive Director

P.M.S. Prasad (DIN 00012144) has been a whole-time director, designated as Executive Director, of the Company since August 21, 2009. He has worked with Reliance for about 38 years, holding various senior positions in fibres, petrochemicals, refining & marketing and exploration & production businesses of Reliance. Prasad holds bachelor’s degrees in science from Osmania University and in engineering from Anna University.

Mr. Prasad is a Director of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd., TV 18 Broadcast Ltd. and Reliance Commercial Dealers Ltd. He is a member of the Stakeholders’ Relationship, Corporate Social Responsibility, Audit, Nomination & Remuneration and Risk Management committees of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd. and TV18 Broadcast Ltd. He is also the Chairman of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee and a member Corporate Social Responsibility Committee of Reliance Commercial Dealers Ltd.

P.K. Kapil, Executive Director

Pawan Kumar Kapil (DIN 02460200) was appointed as a Whole-time Director, designated as Executive Director, of the Company with effect from May 16, 2010. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering, and has a rich experience of more than five decades in the petroleum refining industry. Joining Reliance in 1996, he led the commissioning and start-up of the Jamnagar complex (J1). He was associated with this project from conception to commissioning. He also played a leading role in the commissioning of the manufacturing operations in the Special Economic Zone at Jamnagar.

R.A. Mashelkar, Independent Director

Dr. Raghunath A. Mashelkar (DIN 00074119) is an eminent Indian scientist and a National Research Professor. He served for over 11 years as the Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, which has 38 laboratories and about 20,000 employees. He is the former President of the Indian National Science Academy, Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK) and Global Research Alliance, a network of public-funded R&D institutes from Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US. Deeply connected with the innovation movement in India, Dr. Mashelkar also served as the Chairman of India’s National Innovation Foundation (2000-2018). Currently, he chairs Reliance Innovation Council, KPIT Technologies Innovation Council, Persistent Systems Innovation Council and Marico Foundation’s Governing Council.

Adil Zainulbhai,  Independent Director

Adil Zainulbhai (DIN 06646490) is the Chairman of Quality Council of India (QCI). He is also the Chairman of Network18 Media & Investments Ltd. and TV18 Broadcast Ltd. and also a Director of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. (RJIL), Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd. (RRVL), Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Cipla Ltd. He retired as the Chairman of McKinsey & Company, India, after serving the company for 34 years. At Reliance Industries, Zainulbhai is an Independent Director and the Chairman of Human Resources, Nomination and Remuneration and Risk Management committees, as well as a member of the Audit committee. He is the Chairman of the Audit Committee, Stakeholders Relation-ship Committee, Risk Management Committee and Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, and member of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee of Network18 Media and Investments Ltd. He is also the Chairman of RJIL’s Audit Committee, Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, and a member of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee. He is also the Chairman of the Audit Committee and Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, as well as a member of Nomination and Remuneration Committee of RRVL.

Dipak C. Jain, Independent Director

Prof. Dipak C. Jain (DIN 00228513) has a Master’s Degree in Mathematical Statistics from Gauhati University, and a PhD in Marketing from the University of Texas at Dallas, US.

A distinguished teacher and scholar, he was the Dean of the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University (USA) from 2001 to 2009, and an Associate Dean from 1996 to 2001. He has also served as the Dean of INSEAD, a leading business school from 2011 to 2013, and as a Director of Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, from 2014-2017. He is a member of the Audit Committee, Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, and Nomination & Remuneration Committee of Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd and also a member of the Audit Committee and Nomination & Remuneration Committee of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.

Yogendra P. Trivedi, Independent Director

Dr. Yogendra P. Trivedi (DIN 00001879) is a practising senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India. He worked as the director of the Central Bank of India and Dena Bank. He had been the President of the Indian Merchant’s Chamber, and is currently a member of its managing committee. He was also on the managing committees of ASSOCHAM and the International Chamber of Commerce. He served as the Hon’ Consul to the Republic of Ethiopia and was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 2008 till April 2, 2014. Dr. Trivedi was a President of The Chamber of Tax Consultants and was also the President of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal Bar Association after the retirement of Shri N.A. Palkhiwala, Sr. Advocate of Supreme Court.

Raminder S. Gujral, Independent Director

Raminder Singh Gujral (DIN 07175393) is a BA (Economics Honours), LLB, MBA (IIM-Ahmedabad) and MA (Fletcher School, US). He retired from the post of Finance Secretary, Government of India, in 2013. Earlier, he had held the posts of Secretary (Revenue), Secretary (Expenditure) and Secretary (Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways). Shri Gujral is an Independent Director of Adani Power Limited, Adani Green Energy Limited, Jio Platforms Limited and Adani Power (Mundra) Limited. He is a member of the Audit Committee and Chairman of the Nomination & Remuneration Committee of Adani Power Limited; member of Audit, Nomination & Remuneration and Corporate Social Responsibility committees of  Adani Green Energy Limited and Chairman of Audit Committee of Jio Platforms Limited.

Arundhati Bhattacharya, Independent Director (DIN 02011213) Past Chairman of State Bank of India from 2013 to 2017.

Forty years career as a banker with State Bank of India, the largest bank in India. Held several positions during her career with the bank including working in foreign exchange, treasury, retail operations, human resources and investment banking. This include ed positions like the chief executive of the bank’s merchant banking arm- State Bank of India Capital Markets; Chief General Manager in charge of new projects. She has also served at the bank’s New York office.

Shumeet Banerji, Independent Director

Dr. Shumeet Banerji (DIN 02787784) is the founder of Condorcet, LP – an advisory and investment firm specializing in developing early stage companies. He retired from Booz & Company in 2013 after a 20 year stint at the firm and its predecessor Booz, Allen, Hamilton. He was the founding Chief Executive Officer of Booz & Company. In 2007-08 he co-led the conception, design, and execution of the historic deal separating Booz, Allen, Hamilton, selling the government business to the Carlyle Group and spinning off the global strategy consulting division as Booz & Company.

Banerji currently serves on the Board of Directors of HP Inc (USA), Proteus Digital Health (USA), Felix Pharmaceuticals (Ireland), Tala Energy (UK), Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. (India) and Haldu Tola Private Limited. He serves on the Panel of Senior Advisers of Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs, UK).

K.V. Chowdary, Non-Executive Director

V. Chowdary (DIN 08485334) is a graduate in Mathematics from Loyola College Chennai and Post Graduation in Mathematics from IIT, Chennai. He started his career as a probationary officer in Andhra Bank. He later joined Indian Revenue Service in 1978. On deputation, he went to the Department of Revenue as Under Secretary and thereafter to the Department of Company Affairs as Deputy Secretary. He held several executive positions and retired as Chairman of CBDT. On Superannuation, he was appointed as an Advisor to the Department of Revenue. He was the Central Vigilance Commissioner from June, 2015 to June, 2019.

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