Mumbai: It was an unusual sight for the shareholders of India's biggest private company to see their Chairman turn emotional.
Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman Mukesh Ambani got emotional on Friday while recalling his late father Dhirubhai Ambani's vision in shaping India's largest private firm, remarks that left his mother Kokilaben also in tears. Addressing the 40th annual general meeting (AGM) of RIL, he dedicated 40 years' of achievement and records to founder, Dhirubhai Ambani. A short film was played on how Dhirubhai Ambani shaped the fortunes of the oil-to-telecom conglomerate that had humble beginning in textile trading.
As he reeled off statistics to describe the feats RIL has achieved on revenues, market capitalisation, net profits, asset creation and investor returns, Ambani said, "I want to dedicate 40 years of achievements (as a listed company) and records to our founder chairman Dhirubhai Ambani". Even as the loud cheers from the shareholders were still on, the cameras panned to show the 83-year-old Kokilaben in a sombre moment trying to wipe-off tears. Mukesh took a long pause, Kolkilaben was comforted by her grandson Anant Ambani seated next to her and close acquaintances in the front row.
"Today, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary, I am convinced that Dhirubhai Ambani, my father and our Founder, is with us," he said as he turned emotional. Tears rolled down the cheeks of his mother Kokilaben, who was seated in the front row with her grand children. "As the Gita says: The soul has no birth or death...hence will never cease to be. Dhirubhai lives in our hearts for eternity! Let us welcome Dhirubhai again to this AGM...," he said. Wife Nita, who is on the board of RIL and was on the dais, too showed her softer side with moist eyes. Ambani said it is Dhirubhai's vision and values that have guided the magnificent journey of Reliance. "We all can feel his presence as we pay tribute to this great soul, this proud son of India, who redefined the destiny of our country and its people."
He went on to recall how during his first 25 years he sat by the side of his father learning the business. "I can feel as if he is sitting here, smiling and talking to me and to all of you. I hear him telling me: 'Now, you are in my place. You have the responsibility to protect Reliance and promote the interests of all its shareowners, partners and employees. I am confident that you will take Reliance to greater heights'," he said. Shareholders virtually applauded every sentence of Mukesh Ambani by clapping and by blowing the specially brought whistles and improvised vuvuzelas inside the Birla Matoshri Hall.
Kokilaben has attended all the RIL AGMs regularly seated in the front row. The RIL board had a short meeting on the stage and decided to give a 1:1 bonus share issue to celebrate the 40 years of listing, he told shareholders.