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Ambani brothers among world's top 50 entrepreneurs

August 21, 2007 14:50 IST

Estranged Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil have been jointly named among the world's 50 most influential people in business, thanks to their rivalry that has goaded them to steer their respective businesses to new heights.

The Ambanis are ranked 31 ahead of the likes of global soft drink giant PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and music-to-airlines conglomerate Virgin Group's founder Richard Branson in the second annual list of 'The 50 Who Matter Now' published by Fortune group magazine Business 2.0.

The list, topped by Google trio -- CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Bin - also includes Apple

Computer CEO Steve Jobs (2nd rank), News Corp CEO and media baron Rupert Murdoch (6th) and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (8th).

As regards the Ambanis, the magazine noted that it was their bitter rivalry that was driving them to excellence in their respective businesses.

"These billionaire brothers from India are locked in a bitter intra-family rivalry, and each seems intent on leading the group of companies he inherited from their late father in a different direction," Business 2.0 said on why they matter.

"Elder brother Mukesh is building one of the world's biggest oil refineries and has embarked on a bold plan to revolutionise Indian agriculture," it said.

"Not to be outdone, flashy younger brother Anil is building one of the world's biggest power plants using clean-burning natural gas. He has also created Reliance Communications, the world's fastest-growing CDMA mobile-phone network, and has announced plans to invest billions in India's enterprise broadband network," the magazine said. 

Business 2.0, published by global media conglomerate CNN-Time Warner Group that also owns magazine like Fortune, Money and Fortune Small Business, noted further: "Imagine what these two could do if they just saw eye to eye."

In the process, Anil Ambani has also scored a brownie point over Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin to whom he lost the battle to acquire Hutch-Essar earlier this year. Sarin was named in the "10 who do not matter" list by the same magazine last year, but this particular list has not come this year.

PepsiCo's Nooyi has been ranked at the 32nd position. "She may be selling sugar water, but she's one heck of a role model. When PepsiCo tapped Nooyi to become chief executive of the $35 billion company, the snack and beverage giant became the biggest US company run by a woman -- and a foreign-born one at that," the magazine said.

Nooyi, a 13-year Pepsi veteran and its former CFO, knows all about the bottom line and has positioned the company for rapid growth in the really big markets: China, West Asia, and her native India, it added.

The magazine said about the list that these are the people who inspire, motivate and sometimes infuriate us, "but most of all, they are impossible to ignore."

Others on the list include silicon valley's leading venture capital firm Sequoia Capital's MD Michael Moritz (4th), Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs (5th), Yahoo President Susan Decker (7th), Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers (9th), Toyota President Katsiaki Watanabe (10th), Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos (12th), Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales (13th), Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd (14th) and Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen (15th).

Last year's list also included 'The Emerging Global Middle Class -- China, India, Russia, Brazil, and elsewhere', but does not find mention in this year's list.

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