`Group almost like a joint venture'

NEW DELHI, NOV. 29. In a new twist to the ongoing tussle over ownership of the Rs. 90,000 crore-empire, the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) vice-chairman, Anil Ambani, today sought the employees' support for himself and his elder brother, Mukesh, and said that the building up of the group was "almost like a joint venture."

Stating that he was "saddened" at the developments of the last two weeks, Mr. Anil said in an e-mail to the RIL employees: "I am confident of your support to Mukesh and to me and to the entire organisation." At the same time, he said: "As already communicated, I will not comment on any issues at this stage and will do so only at an appropriate time if necessary."

The RIL chairman and managing director, Mukesh Ambani, had sent a communication to the 80,000-strong workforce of the Reliance group last week, saying that "there is no ambiguity in his [Dhirubhai's] legacy that the CMD is the final authority on all matters concerning Reliance."

Mr. Anil recalled his 20-year association with the Reliance group and with Mr. Mukesh under their father, Dhirubhai's leadership, and said: "We are not inheritors... We are his [Dhirubhai] partners. It has almost been like a joint venture."

"It has been a journey marked by successive milestones of togetherness. We became executive directors, joint managing directors and managing directors at the same time," Mr. Anil said and reminded the employees that it was he who had proposed Mr. Mukesh's name as the CMD of RIL after Dhirubhai's death in 2002.

Interestingly, Mr. Anil recalled the advice given by his father: "Just watch out for the 3Cs — chamchas, chelas and cronies. At times like the present, it is useful for each one of us to remember the teachings and learnings of the greatest guru of our times, the father of the Indian capital markets... Dhirubhai."

Mr. Anil's e-mail to RIL workers came a day after he had undertaken a similar exercise with regard to the employees of Reliance Energy, which he heads.

Core principles

Drawing inspiration from his father, he said: "My own core principles are alignment and empowerment, trust and trustworthiness... I believe in the development of all four dimensions of human personality — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual."

Dhirubhai was a "karmayogi," never willing to rest on his achievements, he said in the e-mail.

"India is a land of great opportunity. If you can dream it, you can do it. Our dreams have to be bigger. Our ambitions higher. Our commitment deeper. And our efforts greater. This is my dream for Reliance, and for India."

Over the last week, "I have visited our holy and revered temples at Shreenathji and Tirupati Balaji and prayed for peace and tranquillity for all of us, and for courage to preserve and enhance the glorious legacy of our beloved Dhirubhai Ambani. For more than 20 years, Mukesh and I had the unique opportunity to work with Dhirubhai Ambani, and, under his training and leadership, to be co-creators in this glorious task of building RIL into one of the world's most admired and successful companies," he added.


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