Billionaire Mukesh Ambani has picked P M S Prasad, Reliance Industries Ltd's petroleum division chief, to help the company start telecommunications services, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Prasad, 61, is part of a group of top officials working on Reliance's voice and data services foray, the people said, asking not to be identified. Reliance held seven oil and gas blocks in India as of September 30 compared with 34 in 2006, giving Prasad the time to work on the telecommunications venture, one of the people said. He will continue to be in charge of the oil business.
Ambani, the world's top-ranked energy billionaire with a $18.8 billion fortune, is banking on new businesses to boost profit as earnings from producing oil and natural gas has slowed in the past three years.
Ambani is turning to Prasad's project management skills after he helped build Reliance's two oil refineries in the western state of Gujarat and developed the company's biggest gas field off India's east coast. Prasad didn't answer two calls to his mobile phone orrespond to a text message seeking comment on his additional role. Tushar Pania, a Reliance spokesman, didn't reply to an e-mail.