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All about my father! When Anil, Isha Ambani, Rohan Murty turned to dad for inspiration

Father's Day or not, these heirs always turn to their dads for inspiration and more.

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Updated: Jun 14, 2019, 05.23 PM IST
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Clockwise from left: Mukesh and Isha Ambani, Narayan Murthy and Rohan Murty, Anil Ambani.
Indian business entities, even those that have gone public, have long and often been family-run shows. India Inc has seen generations of Birlas, Reddys, Bajajs, Ambanis (now in their third generation), control not just the country's major industries but also a large chunk of the revenue.

Now while several gen-X heirs and heiresses choose to go on the untrodden path and venture out on their own rather than joining the family business - others have not only followed in their daddy's footsteps but also quoted their famous fathers, even attributing their success to the seniors.

One such example is the Ambani clan. A recurring theme in several of Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani's speeches has been lessons and quotes from his father Dhirubhai Ambani. Back in 2004, following the public bitter split between the Ambani brothers, Anil in his email to the employees quoted his father saying, "Just watch out for the 3Cs - chamchas, chelas and cronies!"

​Dhirubhai Ambani with sons Mukesh and Anil.
Dhirubhai Ambani with sons Mukesh and Anil.

And now, more than a decade later when all seems well (at least personally for the brothers) - the Jr Ambani once again went back to his father's words - though this time with his own twist when he said, "India Inc is hit by the 3Cs — cash, courts & credit rating agencies."

While the 60-year-old boss turns to Dhirubhai, there is another entrepreneur who credits Mukesh Ambani for his success - son-in-law Anand Piramal.

ambani-mukesh-nita-isha
File photo: Mukesh and Nita Ambani with Isha and Anand ahead of their wedding celebrations in Udaipur.

The 33-year-old Executive Director of the Piramal Group, who tied the knot with Isha Ambani last year, had his own mid-20s career dilemma - and it was advice from the RIL Chairman Ambani (now father-in-law) that helped the then-25-year-old Piramal carve his path.

After completing his MBA from Harvard Business School, the young scion couldn't pick between consulting and banking, and it was then that Asia's richest man helped him decide. Mukesh Ambani reportedly told Anand, "Being a consultant is like watching cricket or commentating about cricket, while being an entrepreneur is like playing cricket. You can’t learn how to play cricket by commentating. If you want to do something, be an entrepreneur in the long term and start now.”

And that's how Piramal Jr's entrepreneurial journey began.

But his son-in-law isn't the only person inspired by the world’s 10th richest man, his daughter Isha Ambani-Piramal also calls dad her 'best role model'. In a 2017 interview to Vogue Australia, the Ambani heiress said of her father, "Because of him I believe fearlessness is a virtue. He raised me to believe I could achieve anything if I am courageous, hardworking and self-confident. He taught me there is no glass ceiling.”

Isha Ambani calls dad Mukesh her 'best role model'​.
Isha Ambani calls dad Mukesh her 'best role model'.

It's a similar story at hospitality family Nairs, who run The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, home. The late Capt Nair’s granddaughters, Aishwarya and Amruda, credit their grandfather for their passion for hospitality, often saying that it runs in their blood.
Sisters Aishwarya and Amruda credit grandad Captain Nair for their passion for hospitality.
Sisters Aishwarya and Amruda credit grandad Captain Nair for their passion for hospitality.

In a 2014 interview to ET, while talking about the Captain's influence on her choices, Aishwarya said, "We are three granddaughters and a grandson and we had our own equation with him. He would talk about business with my sister Amruda; with me, it was fashion, travel and lifestyle. It generated in me the wanderlust to experience all that he did. I have also taken from him ‘people skills."

In Bengaluru, Rohan Murty may have set up his own businesses, Soroco and the Murty Classical Library, away from father N.R. Narayana Murthy's IT giant Infosys, but the Cornell and Harvard alumnus calls Murthy Sr. his inspiration.

Narayana Murthy with wife Sudha and son Rohan in Bengalur​u.
Narayana Murthy with wife Sudha and son Rohan in Bengaluru.

In an interview to a publication, the 36-year-old named his father along with Mark Twain and John F Kennedy while talking about ideas that influence him. He went on to quote his words, “Leadership is about doing the right thing, even if it is going against a vast number of naysayers and mediocre people.”

Father's Day or not, these heirs always turn to their dads for inspiration and more.

Father's Day Gift(s) For the Bibliophile Dad: Books From Biz Leaders' Reading Lists

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Stories With Your Old Man

12 Jun, 2019
If you have a bibliophile dad, or a career-driven one, wrap up a good book and you've got yourself a winner of a present. But while the idea of gifting a book may qualify as a no-brainer, picking the right book isn't an easy task. Which is why, we turned to the experts. What are business leaders - who've made a mark and inspired millions across the globe - inspired by? We followed their reading lists and recommendations to hand-pick titles (across genres) that are sure to be a hit with your dad.
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