Dhirubhai Ambani and Reliance

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN011
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 1958-2002
Pub Date : 2001
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Reliance India
Industry : Varied
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Our dreams have to be bigger. Our ambition higher. Our commitment deeper. And our efforts greater. This is my dream for Reliance and for India."

- Dhirubhai Ambani.

"The country has lost an iconic proof of what an ordinary Indian fired by the spirit of enterprise and driven by determination, can achieve in his own lifetime. Not only did Ambani build a large and diversified business conglomerate but also inspired many first generation entrepreneurs with his success."

- Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, Republic of India.

"Dhirubhai built an empire that is rock solid and he will always remain an icon."

- Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Vikram Birla Group.

The Death of an Icon

The 6th of July 2002 was a black day in the Indian corporate history. The Founder and Chairman of the Reliance group of Industries (Reliance), Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani (Dhirubhai) died after a 13 day battle for survival. A perfect combination of entrepreneurship and leadership, Dhirubhai transformed Reliance from a company with a turnover of Rs 640 million in 1976, to one with a turnover of Rs 620 billion in 2002.

Starting with a small textile mill in Naroda, in 1966, Dhirubhai took Reliance into various areas like petrochemicals, polyester filament yarn, oil and gas exploration and production, refining and marketing of petroleum, textiles, power, telecom services, information management and financial services (Refer Exhibit I for Reliance Group of Companies).

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

Dhirubhai never followed the textbook style of management. Instead, he evolved a unique style, which combined the American style of entrepreneurship, with the Japanese focus on the latest technology.

And to this, he added the innate shrewdness of a Gujarati businessman. Analysts feel that he was a perfect manager of time, money and men and exhibited a passion to find solutions to problems.

Dhirubhai started Reliance at a time when most companies in India were owned by the government, and the private players were given step-motherly treatment by the government while offering licenses and permits. Similarly, when most Indian business houses depended on government - owned financial institutions for funds, Dhirubhai raised capital from the public by offering shares of his companies...

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