Nusli Wadia, The Indian Billionaire, Grandson Of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Who Never Shied Away From A Fight
October 22, 2022: Nusli Wadia, 78, chairman of the more than 200-year-old Wadia Group empire, is an India-born British Parsi businessman who is part of the prominent Wadia business family.
Nusli Wadia, the son of businessman Neville Wadia and Dina Wadia, is the grandson of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who is his maternal grandfather.
You think rich and the names of Ambanis, Tatas, Wadias would appear in your mind. While they are recognized as the richest families in India living in luxury, they have all had their fair share of fights.
Whether in politics, academia, or business, each sector has witnessed its own struggles and rivalries.
It’s rightly said that it takes two to tango, but an Indian billionaire, who happens to be the grandson of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is never afraid of a fight.
He has had not one, not two, but several clashes and that too with big shots like Dhirubhai Ambani, Ratan Tata, among others.
Nusli Wadia, 78, chairman of the Wadia Group aviation biscuit empire, is an India-born British Parsee businessman who is part of the prominent Wadia business family. Nusli, the son of businessman Neville Wadia and Dina Wadia, is the grandson of Jinnah, who is his maternal grandfather.
Never afraid of a fight, Jinnah’s grandson Wadia once fought big corporate names like Tata and Ambani, among many others. Here’s a look at his story:
Wadia vs. Dhirubhai Ambani
The corporate battle between Wadia and Dhirubhai Ambani began when both were seeking growth in the polyester industry.
Wadia Group’s Bombay Dyeing had already made a name for itself when it came to sheets, towels, and more. The company was one of the textile kings during the pre-Ambani era.
With Dhirubhai Ambani also seeking to enter space, the conflict took the form of a covert war, so much so that the media dubbed the battle “the old regime taking on the nouveau riche.” Dhirubhai Ambani won the war when Wadia made some poor decisions with his polyester mids.
Later in 2009, Nusli Wadia said that he had no rivalry with Dhirubhai Ambani, debunking the perception that the two business families were fierce adversaries.
“I have no rivalry with him (Dhirubhai Ambani)…I’m just saying that the rivalry is now at different levels…with different people…different problems,” he had said.
Nusli Wadia vs. Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata, the Chairman Emeritus of the Tata Group, is highly respected by people from all walks of life. He had been friends with the chairman of the Wadia Group since childhood.
Only a few know that Wadia considered former Tata Sons president JRD Tata his godfather and mentor. Also, JRD helped Wadia when he wanted to take control of Bombay Dyeing.
When JRD handed over the reins of the company to Ratan Tata, it was Wadia who guided him through his early years. However, their friendship soured when Wadia decided to sue Ratan Tata.
During the height of the Mistry-Tata conflict, Wadia sided with Cyrus Mistry and as a result was removed from the position of independent director of Tata Motors.
Wadia had filed a defamation case against Ratan Tata and Tata Group in 2016 alleging that he was unfairly expelled from
Tata Motors as he never participated in the dispute unless he felt bad. He dropped the lawsuit four years later, in 2020.
Nusli Wadia’s fight with his father
The billionaire not only clashed with other businessmen, but once fought against his own father Neville when he wanted to sell Bombay Dyeing to the Goenkas and settle in Switzerland. The young Nusli managed to retain the company and also ensured that his father stays in India.
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