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Family business head joins Bank of America

Mukesh Ambani - head of Reliance Industries

Chairman of family-controlled Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani, has been named a director at Bank of America Corporation, the first family business head to join the board.

The Bank of America said in a statement on 16 March that Ambani will stand for election to the board at the bank’s annual meeting of shareholders next month. When appointed, the second-generation head of India’s biggest conglomerate will become the first non-US citizen to sit on the bank’s board.

The Charlotte-based bank’s board has shuffled often since the beginning of the financial crisis and currently has its third chairman in two years. Experts say that Ambani’s appointment gives the Bank of America a powerful insider to help further expansion in emerging economies, which have recently witnessed a big rise in the number of its billionaires.

Charles Holliday Jr, chairman of Bank of America, said: “The shareholders will benefit from the global perspective Ambani brings to our board. He has demonstrated expertise in risk management and strategic planning across a diverse range of businesses, including energy, information and communications technology, and retail networks.”

Ambani, son of Reliance Industries founder Dhirubhai Ambani, is the richest man in India with a personal wealth of $27 billion, and is the ninth richest in the world according to Forbes in 2011.

His father’s company was split between him and his brother Anil in 2006 following a much-publicised family feud. While Anil got control of communications, telecom and energy, Ambani took hold of the petroleum and chemicals related subsidiaries. His oil and gas conglomerate is today a $45 billion business.

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