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Nita Ambani joins Reliance Industries’ board

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Mumbai – Nita Ambani, wife of Reliance IndustriesBSE -1.63 % chairman Mukesh Ambani, was inducted on the board of the company at the company’s 40th Annual General Meeting.

“We are delighted to welcome her (Nita Ambani) to the board of Reliance Industries as an accomplished individual and the founder chairperson of Reliance Foundation for furthering the growth agenda of Reliance,” Mukesh Ambani said at the meeting. The Ambanis’ two sons, Akash and Anant were present, and Mrs Ambani touched the feet of family matriarch Kokilaben Ambani, whose husband Dhirubhai founded Reliance.

Mukesh Ambani pointed out that Nita had been involved in various initiatives that strengthened RILBSE -1.63 % as a company – including the township at Jamnagar, integrated office campuses, design of consumer touch-points for Reliance Retail, besides spearheading Reliance Foundation, which manages RIL’s corporate social responsibility spends. In FY14, that spend touched Rs 712 crore which represents over 3% of the company’s profit. RIL’s CSR spend is one of the highest in the country and also hi ..

In her acceptance statement, Nita Ambani said she took the position with a sense of humility and responsibility. “RIL has always aimed to better millions of lives and my mission will be to bring speed, scale and social contract to RIL’s larger mission. I accept this responsibility as a tribute to millions of RIL stakeholders, as well as to my tireless colleagues at Reliance Foundation,” she said.

While RIL’s head and executive said that Nita Ambani’s appointment has been a natural progression from the role that she has been playing with Reliance Foundations, critics believe that the company chose to induct her on the board to fulfill new norms in the Companies Act, which state that all listed companies and those public firms with paid-up share capital of Rs 100 crore or more should have at least one woman director on the board.

“I don’t think that filling board positions with family members is not a great idea. Directors should be chosen purely on the basis of capability and experience. Reliance has now set a precedent. Other companies may follow them by inducting women from the promoter family in the board to abide by the new companies norms,” said Kavil Ramachandran, Thomas Schmidheiny Chair Professor of family business and wealth management, resident faculty at Indian School of Business.

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