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Dhirubhai Ambani (28 December 1932 – 6 July 2002) epitomised the dauntless entrepreneurial spirit of a visionary always on the march to change the destiny of a nation. Acclaimed as the top businessman of the 20th century and lauded for his dynamic, pioneering and innovative genius, Dhirubhai was an inspiring leader with sterling qualities. His success story fired the imagination of a generation of Indian entrepreneurs, business leaders and progressive companies. For many, he still remains an icon, a role model to be emulated.
Dhirubhai’s unique vision redefined the potential of the Indian corporate sector and he challenged conventional wisdom in several areas. He was probably the first Indian businessman to recognise the strategic significance of investors and discover the vast untapped potential of the capital markets and channelize it for the growth and development of industry. The corporate philosophy he followed was short, simple and succinct: “Think big. Think differently. Think fast. Think ahead. Aim for the best.” It was under Dhirubhai’s visionary leadership the Reliance Group emerged as the largest business conglomerate in India, and carved out a distinct place for itself in the global pantheon of corporate giants.
During the course of his entrepreneurial mission, Dhirubhai set a number of revolutionary precedents. His contributions to the social and economic development of the nation were many and recognised by numerous national and international organisations. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan – India’s second highest civilian honour – in 2016, for his ‘exceptional and distinguished’ service to trade and industry. Many other prestigious awards and titles have been conferred on him, including the Lifetime Achievement Award (The Economic Times), Man of the Century (Chemtech Foundation), Indian Entrepreneur of the 20th Century (FICCI), and many more.
He visualised the growth of Reliance as an integral part of his grand vision for India. He was convinced that India could become an economic superpower within a short period of time and wanted Reliance to play an important role in realising this goal. Today, the Group’s turnover represents nearly 3 percent of India’s GDP.