February 2010
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Against All Odds : AGK

Born on 28 December, 1932, Dhirubhai was the fifth child of Hirachandbhai and Jamnaben Ambani. He left his hometown Chorwad, Gujarat for Aden, at the age of 17, to work at A.Besse & Co. Nine years later he returned to India and set up Reliance Commercial Corporation, a trading venture. He moved from trading in spices to yarn and in 1966 began textile manufacturing at Naroda, Gujarat. He then began manufacturing up the value chain- textiles, then yarn , polyester and petrochemicals, then ventured into oil exploration building a multi billion dollar corporation in the process, Dhirubhai financed his plans by going to the capital markets in 1977. He convinced a new breed of investor - the middle class community- to put their faith in what was then a little known textile company. His subsequent phenomenal performance and rewarding of their trust created an entirely new investing culture in the country.

Within a span of just 25 years, he created the country's largest Fortune 500 Corporation. The Reliance Group is a living testament to his indomitable will, and his unrelenting commitment to achieving his goals. The Group's track record of consistent growth is unparalleled in Indian industry. Today its turnover represents nearly three per cent of the India GDP.

The corporate philosophy Dhirubhai followed was simple: Think big. Think differently. Think fast. Think ahead. Aim for the best. He ingrained this philosophy into the team he nurtured and ensured that they continuously set their sights on higher goals. He remained the same Dhirubhai all through his life- his personal tastes remained simple, his friendships endured the journey, his generosity shone undiminished, and his quest for excellence remained unshaken. All through his sixty-nine years- as a child in Chorwad, an employee in Aden, as a spice and yarn trader in Bombay and as the Chairman of India's largest private sector corporation - he consistently displayed remarkable leadership traits.

The Bhagvad Gita states, "The actions of a great man are an inspiration for others. Whatever he does becomes a standard for others to follow." Dhirubahi's life exemplified this.

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