Gautam Shantilal Adani, a name that reverberates across India and the global business stage, is the founder and chairman of the Adani Group. Born on June 24, 1962, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, he embarked on a journey that would make him one of India's most influential industrialists.
Adani's roots trace back to a modest background, born into a Gujarati Jain family to Shantilal Adani and Shantaben Adani. His father was a small textile merchant, and young Gautam's ambitions extended far beyond the family textile business.
He pursued his early education at Sheth Chimanlal Nagindas Vidyalaya School in Ahmedabad. He began his college journey at Gujarat University, although he dropped out after the second year, driven by a passion for business but not in textiles.
Adani's journey towards success began when he moved to Mumbai in 1978, at the age of 16, to work as a diamond sorter for Mahendra Brothers. This marked the inception of his career, and it didn't take long for him to recognise the vast potential of global trade.
In 1981, his elder brother Mahasukhbhai Adani acquired a plastics unit in Ahmedabad and invited Gautam to manage its operations. This venture served as Adani's entry point into international trading through polyvinyl chloride (PVC) imports.
In 1988, Gautam Adani took a significant step by establishing Adani Exports, which is now known as Adani Enterprises.
Initially, the company dealt primarily with agricultural and power commodities, but the winds of economic liberalisation in 1991 proved favourable for expansion. Adani began diversifying into trading metals, textiles, and agro products.
Adani's vision led to the outsourcing of managerial operations of Mundra Port by the Government of Gujarat in 1994, and Adani secured the contract in 1995.
This marked the beginning of Adani's venture into the port operations business, a move that would lead to the development of Mundra Port into India's largest private-sector port.
In 1996, Adani ventured into the power generation business with the establishment of Adani Power. The company went on to become the largest private thermal power producer in India, with a capacity of 4620 MW.
Adani's quest for growth and innovation knew no bounds. He ventured into international waters by acquiring Abbot Point Port in Australia and the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland between 2009 and 2012.
Adani's journey to success was not without its share of legal challenges and controversies. In 2002, he was arrested by Delhi Police due to a non-bailable warrant following a cheating complaint. The case was later resolved through negotiation.
In 2012, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) filed a charge sheet against Adani for cheating and criminal conspiracy related to the purchase and sale of shares.
Although Adani was discharged from this case in 2014, it resurfaced in 2020 when a Mumbai sessions court overturned the previous decision.
In January 2023, Adani and his companies were accused of stock manipulation by the New York-based investment firm Hindenburg Research.
This accusation resulted in a significant decline in Adani's wealth and Forbes ranking. The Adani Group strongly refuted the accusations, terming them as a malicious combination of selective misinformation.
Gautam Adani's journey to the pinnacle of success has been recognised and celebrated.
In August 2022, he was named the third richest person in the world by Fortune, surpassing Mukesh Ambani to become Asia's richest person in February 2022.
In May 2022, the Adani family acquired Ambuja Cements and its subsidiary ACC from the Swiss building materials giant Holcim Group for $10.5 billion. The family's investments and acquisitions reflect their commitment to diversifying and expanding their business empire.
Priti Gautam Adani, the wife of Gautam Adani, is not just a supportive spouse but a driving force of change in her own right.
Leading the Adani Foundation, the group's CSR arm, Priti Adani's philanthropic endeavours encompass education, healthcare, sustainable livelihood, and community development. Her commitment to social causes has touched countless lives across India.
Karan Adani, the elder son of Gautam and Priti Adani, has taken on the mantle of leadership within the Adani Group. Graduating from Purdue University with a degree in economics, he joined Adani Ports & SEZ Limited (APSEZ) in 2009.
Under Karan Adani's leadership, APSEZ expanded its operations, acquiring ports such as Kattupalli in Tamil Nadu. He also oversees the Adani Group's airport projects, symbolising the family's commitment to India's infrastructure development.
Jeet Adani, the younger son, is another promising member of the Adani family. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Jeet joined the Adani Group in 2019.
He initially worked in the Group CFO's office, focusing on Strategic Finance, Capital Markets, and Risk & Governance Policy.
Jeet Adani is spearheading Adani Airports and the development of Adani Digital Labs, which aims to create a super app catering to all Adani Group businesses.
The Adani family's journey is a testament to the power of entrepreneurship, vision, and perseverance. From humble beginnings to global prominence, Gautam Shantilal Adani's story is an inspiration to aspiring business leaders worldwide.
With Priti Gautam Adani, Karan Adani, and Jeet Adani actively contributing to the family's legacy, the Adani Group continues to shape India's business landscape and make significant strides on the global stage.
Despite challenges and controversies, their commitment to excellence and progress remains unwavering, leaving an indelible mark on India's economic growth and development.