Sanjay Gupta appointed as Country Manager, India by The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company announced some major changes in its leadership team for the APAC (Asia Pacific) and Middle East region on Monday. Star Sports CEO Sanjay Gupta will be the Country Manager for India with a direct responsibility for the studio business in the country, Uday Shankar chairman Star and Disney India and President The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific has confirmed in an internal communique.  

He has confirmed seven functional leads, ranging from finance and human resources to corporate communication in the Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific team.

The other functional leads in the new structure include:

  • Sanjay Jain, former CFO at Fox’s Star, will lead finance.
  • Amita Maheshwari, former head of HR at Star, will lead human resources.
  • Anju Jain Kumar, from Disney, will be the chief regional counsel for North Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Deepak Jacob, from Star’s legal department, will be the chief regional counsel for India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
  • Prateek Garg, previously head of business development and acquisitions at Star, will manage Shankar’s office as head of corporate development.
  • Jessica Pouleur, currently VP of strategy and business development at The Walt Disney Company, will lead strategy and business development. She will also take interim responsibility of leading strategy for Southeast Asia.
  • Jannie Poon, SVP of corporate affairs and communications at 21st Century Fox, will head corporate communications.

Star Regional Media Networks’ K Madhavan will lead Star India’s regional language channels.

“It is a momentous opportunity to be able to chart the course of The Walt Disney Company in Asia Pacific and Middle East,” Uday Shankar has stated in the communique. “While our region is experiencing tremendous change, the common thread that binds it together is the exciting opportunity it presents to build on the great businesses that we have today and create transformational businesses of tomorrow. My endeavor is to build an organization that enables us to take full advantage of this unique opportunity and capitalize on the potential of the great leadership talent that we have in the region.

“We recognize the need for a sharp focus on building deeply local businesses. To achieve this, we are making some changes to the current market structure. This will allow us to serve the strategic agenda in each market and enable our exceptional leaders to build even greater and more successful businesses. Above all, this will facilitate our transformation into a direct-to-consumer company that rests on deep local foundations.”

The communique has confirmed the following business leads and country managers in the new structure:

  • India: Sanjay Gupta will be Country Manager of India and will also have direct responsibility for the studio business in the country
  • North Asia: Luke Kang will continue to lead the North Asia (Greater China, Japan and Korea) business including direct country management of Mainland China and Japan
  • Star Regional Media Networks: K Madhavan will lead Star India’s regional language Media Networks
  • Southeast Asia: Zubin Gandevia, after a long and distinguished career with Fox, has decided to leave the company but has agreed to remain for a period of time to help transition the leadership of media networks in Southeast Asia
  • Emerging Markets & Content Sales: Amit Malhotra will lead Emerging Markets. He will also lead Content Sales for APAC (except North Asia), with a dual reporting to Janice Marinelli who heads DTCI’s Global Content Sales and Distribution
  • Middle East: Chafic Najia will be Country Manager of Middle East Media cluster
  • Australia/New Zealand (ANZ): Kylie Watson-Wheeler will continue to serve as Country Manager of Australian and New Zealand business with direct responsibility for Media Networks and Direct-to-Consumer
  • Studios APAC: Kurt Rieder will lead the Studio business for APAC (except India). He will work closely with the regional business leaders to drive this business.

 “Our true strength comes from the quality and diversity of our talent, which combines the best of both Disney and 21st Century Fox. I am privileged to lead a team of such exceptional leaders and congratulate all of them on getting this exciting opportunity to lead this great company to an even greater destiny,” Uday Shankar further states.


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