The man behind Jio’s Rs 1 lakh crore deals: Manoj Modi guiding 4 generations of Ambani

Mukesh Ambani helped his younger brother Anil Ambani to pay off debt owed to Sweden's Ericsson.

We often see the Ambanis in the limelight and a few other execs who aren’t shy of being in the spotlight, but very little is known about one man who has been incremental in Jio’s Rs 99 thousand crore worth deals. That’s Manoj Modi – the unsung hero at Reliance Industries Limited who has been loyally associated with the conglomerate for nearly 40 years.

Having worked with late Dhirubhai Ambani and then with Mukesh and Nita Ambani and now with Isha and Aakash Ambani, Modi has seen and advised generations at the company. A man of such prolific role at the company, it is surprising to see how he’s managed to stay off the radar for so long.

Manoj ModiModi’s personal life remains a mystery, but his role at RIL and most importantly in the dealings of Jio Platforms is too huge to be missed. Here’s what is known of Mukesh Ambani’s right hand and the man who held a key role in over $13 billion deal spree.

Lesser known facts about Manoj Modi

Even as India was under total lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the last few months, Reliance made the headlines by signing some huge deals that shocked everyone. It all started with Facebook buying a 9.99 percent stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 43,000 crore. As new deals were signed, more and more investors joined the Jio bandwagon by bringing a whopping Rs 102,432.15 crore investment from various tech investors, including Silverlake, Vista, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, Adia, and most recently TPG and L Catterton. Going by the reports, Modi was an important negotiator in all of these deals and his appearance in the meetings only meant fruition of the deal.

Modi is the man running the show from behind the scenes. He doesn’t have any flashy titles or carries a designation nor he is a part of the RIL board. But his presence is crucial in steering some of the biggest decisions at RIL. He usually controls negotiations from behind, guiding executives on when to finalize things or when to set loose. He has a reputation for striking a hard bargain in deals.

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Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani with son Akash Ambani and close associate Manoj Modi at Reliance Jio`s “open office” in Mumbai on November 4, 2015.

Modi is a Director at Reliance Retail Ltd and its telecom carrier Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. By now it is clear that he is not a man of making public appearances or interviews. But in one video conference, he showcased his humble nature by downplaying his skills and contribution to the company and its decisions.

“I don’t understand strategy. In fact, people internally know that I don’t even have a vision. I deal with our internal people, coaching them, mentoring them, and guiding them on how something can be done.”

But his vision for the company couldn’t be put more aptly than what he said in the video conference he was persuaded to participate in. “Our principle at Reliance is very simple: Unless everyone makes money while working with us, you cannot have a sustainable business.”

A man of his tenure, understanding, loyalty and finesse cannot go unnoticed for long. Even though he has no social media presence – not on Twitter, Facebook, or even LinkedIn.

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