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Succession Planning Case Study

Case Title:

Turmoil at Reliance

Publication Year : 2005

Authors: Amy Sonpal, Dr. A.V Vedpuriswar

Industry: Conglomerates


Case Code: SUP0007A

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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The Reliance Group was founded by a visionary Dhirubhai Ambani. It was India's largest business house with total revenues of over Rs 900 billion in 2004 equivalent to 3.5% of India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). After Dhirubhai’s demise in 2002, the two brothers, Mukesh and Anil Ambani, were running the group. In November 2004, Mukesh publicly accepted in an interview that there were “ownership issues” between him and Anil. The statement bared the fact that all was not well between the brothers. Anil started to publicly criticize the corporate governance practices at Reliance Industries managed by Mukesh. The genesis of the battle was traceable to ownership and control issues. The case brings out the importance of succession planning in the family run businesses and inculcates issues like corporate governance, control and ownership.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss and understand the massive organisation structure of a diversified group such as ‘Reliance’
  • To discuss the issues of family run businesses, the problems encountered and the challenges involved
  • To debate on the succession planning of Family run businesses (particularly in Indian families)
  • To analyse the impact of succession planning in family run businesses and the issues involved like corporate governance, control vs.ownership

Keywords : Succession Planning; Family Owned Businesses; Corporate Governance; Reliance Industries; Succession Planning Case Study; Ambani Brothers


  • The creation of an empire
  • The Succession Saga
    • Genesis of the rift
  • The Power Battle
  • Corporate Governance
  • The Road Ahead

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