• Wednesday, May 29, 2024


India’s rising billionaire heirs geared up to make their mark

Anant and Akash Ambani

Shajil KumarBy: Shajil Kumar

WEALTHY Indian business families have appointed their young sons and daughters to run their multibillion pound enterprises and top 10 are collectively worth $382 billion (£306.8bn), according to a Bloomberg analysis.

A report last week mentioned Akash, Isha and Anant Ambani, and Ananya and Aryaman Vikram of the Birla family as business leaders under 40 in family-run conglomerates. The estimated wealth these young leaders will inherit dwarfs the amount their counterparts in China can expect to receive, the Bloomberg report added.

While Chinese stocks have slumped as the country’s growth has weakened, there is rising optimism in India’s long-term potential and its equities are trading around alltime highs. As India’s economy expands and the population grows, the conglomerates too are diversifying into new areas such as green energy and e-commerce.

Indian patriarchs now want their children, many of them educated in the US and UK, to take over the business and tap new markets. In many Indian companies it is common for founders to hold 50 per cent stake or more in their operations, hence appointing children to public boards tends to be seen as a natural progression. In other markets, this would been seen as breach of corporate governance.

Bloomberg highlighted 16 heirs aged 40 or below who are preparing to lead the operations at some of Indian’s richest clans.


India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani recently appointed his three children as nonexecutive directors to the board of his flagship company, Reliance Industries Limited, saying he would spend the next five years grooming them.

Mukesh’s son Akash is the chair of Reliance’s telecom arm, Jio Infocomm. His twin sister Isha is a non-executive director at the conglomerate’s e-commerce arm, Reliance Retail Ventures. Younger brother Anant is closely associated with the conglomerate’s renewable-energy transition. The family wealth is $113.5bn (£91.15bn).

India’s rising billionaire heirs geared up to make their mark
Ananya Birla


India’s second richest man, Gautam Adani (14th in global ranking), who heads the infrastructure major Adani group, recently made his elder son Karan the managing director of Adani Ports.

His brother, Jeet, is vice president of group finance at the flagship Adani Enterprises. Their family wealth is $102.4bn (£82.24bn).

Shapoorji Pallonji

Shapoor Mistry, who heads the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, has appointed son Pallon as a director on the Shapoorji Pallonji & Co board. Founded in 1865 as a construction enterprise, Shapoorji Pallonji Group now has a prominent presence in engineering and real estate and the family wealth is $37.7bn (£30.28bn).

It has built luxury hotels, stadiums, palaces and factories across Asia with landmark projects such as the Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai and the Al Alam Palace for the Sultan of Oman. The family also owns a stake in Tata Sons, the main holding company behind Tata Group.

Sun Pharma

Dilip Shanghvi owns Sun Pharma, one of the world’s largest generic drugmakers. It has more than 40 manufacturing facilities and 41,000 employees and the family wealth is around $26.7bn (£21.44bn).

His son Aalok, who has a degree in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Michigan, is an executive director at Sun Pharma.

Avenue Supermarts

Radhakishan Damani, who runs Avenue Supermarts, started with D-Mart, a chain of no-frills supermarkets in the early 2000s after making a fortune trading Indian stocks. D-Mart is now a major retail chain, with almost 350 stores in India and the family wealth is $21.1bn (£16.95bn). His daughter Manjri Chandak is a director in Avenue Supermarts.


In the 165-year-old Birla group, the current patriarch, Kumar Mangalam Birla, recently elevated heirs Ananya and Aryaman Vikram to the boards of three of its businesses.

They joined the fashion arm – Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail in January last year, and Birla feels their understanding of newage business models and emerging shifts in consumer behaviour will “infuse fresh energy” to the board.

The family wealth of this legacy company is $18.8bn (£15.10bn).

Bharti Enterprises

Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises owns Bharti Airtel, India’s No. 2 wireless operator, has businesses across sectors including tech and financial services. It also has a presence in many African countries and the family wealth is $19bn (£15.26bn).

His son Shravin is the managing director of Bharti Global, the family’s investment arm; and a director at Airtel Africa. He earlier worked in a private equity and investment banking firm before taking roles in the family’s businesses.

India’s rising billionaire heirs geared up to make their mark
Isha Ambani

RJ Corp

Ravi Jaipuria’s RJ Corp, has a major presence in food, drinks, health care and education sectors. Its subsidiary Varun Beverages is one of the largest international franchisees of PepsiCo outside the US. His son Varun is executive vicechairman of Varun Beverages and the family wealth is $15.6bn (£12.53bn).

Kotak Mahindra

Mumbai – b a s e d Kotak Mahindra Bank has a network of about 1,800 branches and provides commercial, investment-banking, insurance and brokerage services.

Founder Uday Kotak’s son Jay is senior vice president of conglomerate relationships at Kotak Mahindra Bank and co-head of the digital bank.

The family wealth is around $14.1bn (£11.32bn).

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