Mukesh Ambani Reliance Industries has appointed the head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to its board, deepening ties between the powerful Indian conglomerate and the oil-rich Gulf kingdom.
Ambani said at the company’s annual meeting on Thursday that Yasir Al-Rumayyan, managing director of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, will join the board of directors as an independent director.
The appointment of Al-Rumayyan is part of Reliance’s many-year endeavor Reshape the family run conglomerateFounded by Mukesh’s father Dhirubhai nearly 50 years ago, the 21st century company has become an integral part of the global energy and technology economy.
Reliance brought a string of strategic investors from technology and private equity into its digital and retail business last year. Facebook and Google have seats on Reliance’s board of directors Jio digital sub-platformsin which they invested billions of dollars.
Add Al-Rumayyan, who is also the head of the government energy giant Aramco Saudi ArabiaTo Reliance’s board of directors highlights Ambani’s quest to deepen ties with the Gulf kingdom, whose oil and money is vital to the future of the Indian group’s core refinery business.
Reliance trying Close an investment of $15 billion from Saudi Arabia for a 20 percent stake in the group’s refining and petrochemical assets, which was first announced by Ambani in 2019.
The deal has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the repercussions of the economic crisis on Aramco’s finances. Talks have recently been revived, with the kingdom considering an initial payment for the Reliance stock deal, then staggered cash payments over several years.
Last year, the Public Investment Fund approved Invest $1.5 billion in Jio, part of a $20 billion fundraising drive by subsidiary Reliance. The Saudi fund also invested $1.3 billion in Reliance Retail.
Ambani said he was “delighted and privileged” to have Rumayan join the board, calling him “one of the most recognized names in energy, finance and technology”.
The Reliance chief also said the appointment would speed up the “internationalization” of the Indian conglomerate, but did not reveal details of what role Al-Rumayyan would play.
Saudi Arabia has a close relationship with India, which is a large consumer of crude oil in the country. With oil demand growth weak in the West, so does the Gulf kingdom المملكة Shifting to Big Buyers in Asia To support long-term sales.
As with many Indian conglomerates, Reliance is largely run by family members and old partners. Ambani’s wife Nita sits on Reliance’s board of directors alongside Hetal and Nikhil Mswani, who are both children of one of the company’s founding directors.
Ambani has built relationships with members of the royal family and Saudi elites, making multiple trips to the country including his 2019 appearance at the annual ‘Davos in the Desert’ investment summit in Riyadh.