Despite Wealth Gap, Gautam Adani Overtakes Mukesh Ambani In List Of Top 100 Influential Indians

The Indian Express has released its list of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential Indians of 2024’, with a notable shift in the business sector. Gautam Adani, the Chairman of the Adani Group, has surpassed Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, in the rankings.

What Happened: The Indian Express’ list of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential Indians of 2024’ was released on Thursday. This list encompasses influential figures from various domains such as politics, business, entertainment, and sports.

Adani, 61, has secured the 10th position on the list, one spot ahead of Ambani. This is a significant leap for Adani, who has climbed 33 spots since the previous year. The Indian Express attributed Adani’s rise to his leadership in various infrastructure sectors, including cement, power, airports, green energy, ports, and gas distribution, through acquisitions and greenfield projects.

Adani, with a net worth of $101 billion, is the second richest Indian, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (BBI). Despite facing allegations of accounting fraud and stock manipulation by Hindenburg Research, the Adani Group has recovered, and its stocks have regained their losses.

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Adani’s coglomerate has announced plans for a ₹7 lakh crore investment in airports, green energy, ports, and power sectors, as well as a foray into the news and media space.

Ambani, on the other hand, has secured the 11th spot on the list. The Indian Express acknowledged Ambani’s efforts to strengthen the conglomerate through investments in new energy, reorganization, and succession planning. RIL, under Ambani’s leadership, is also backing BharatGPT and is set to launch its Hanooman AI model for India.

Ambani, with a net worth of $109 billion, is the richest Indian, as per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Reliance is the most-valued listed company in India and its market capitalization touched ₹20 lakh crore earlier this month.

Why It Matters: The Indian Express’ list of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential Indians of 2024’ reflects the changing dynamics of the Indian business landscape. Adani’s rise to the 10th position, surpassing Ambani, is particularly noteworthy given the recent challenges faced by the Adani Group.

Adani’s ascent comes on the heels of a tumultuous period triggered by a damning report from Hindenburg Research in January 2023, which led to a rout in the conglomerate's stocks. However, the Adani Group consistently denied the accusations, and a significant majority of the group’s 15-dollar bonds now trade above distressed levels.

Adani’s net worth surged to $100.7 billion in early February, the highest it has been since the Hindenburg allegations, following an 8-day rise in Adani Enterprises Ltd. shares. This marked Adani’s return to the elite club of billionaires with fortunes above $100 billion, just one spot behind Ambani.

Meanwhile, Reliance's share price was surging on Thursday after the company announced the mega-merger with Disney. The RIL-Viacom18-Disney joint venture is set to create India's largest media empire, encompassing TV broadcasting, streaming, movies, and sports.

Read next: Anand Mahindra Praises ‘Outstanding’ Tata Motors, Highlights Healthy Competition

Image: Flickr/ Harkirat Singh

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