Uday Shankar to move on: Industry honchos salute torch bearer for broadcasting fraternity

Uday Shankar’s decision to step down as President, The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India, to pursue a high impact entrepreneurial endeavour, has created quite a buzz. As reported earlier today, Shankar will remain with Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International Segment through end of 2020 to help identify his successor and ensure smooth transition.

Also read:  Uday Shankar to step down as President, Walt Disney APAC & Chairman, Star & Disney India

Commenting on the development, Rebecca Campbell, chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment, said, “I want to thank Uday for his leadership and dedication to our APAC business. With the successful launch of Disney+ throughout the region, he has helped put The Walt Disney Company in a commanding position in this dynamic and incredibly strategic part of the world. His vast experience and expertise have been invaluable in bringing together a strong, cohesive APAC leadership team to chart a path forward for our streaming businesses in the region and beyond. Uday has been a great friend, colleague and valued counselor to me personally, and I know I speak for all of DTCI when I say he will be greatly missed. At the same time, I understand and respect his desire to make this change. I am extremely grateful that he has agreed to stay on to help ensure a seamless transition.”

Adgully reached out to the captains of the industry as well as some media professionals to know about their reactions to Uday Shankar’s decision to move on and also recall their association with Shankar. Here’s what they had to say...

We both go a long way back: Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd

“In Uday, I have been fortunate to have found, not just a thorough professional colleague, but a very dear friend. We both go a long way back, right to the days when he was shining in the realm of the editorial world. I have always enjoyed my interactions with him and we connected at a very unique and a creative level. Despite both of us being on the business and industry roles, whenever we met, our conversations have largely been about the finer aspects of content, creativity and innovation. His contribution to the media & entertainment industry has been truly valuable. I wish him all the success in his future endeavours and good health.”

Great friend & fierce competitor: NP Singh, MD & CEO, Sony Pictures Networks

“Uday is a great friend and a fierce competitor. We have had some great times together at a personal and professional level. He is a visionary and I have a lot of respect for his immense contributions in shaping our industry. His exit will leave a huge void and he will be missed. I wish him the best in his new journey.”

An outlier and amazing human being: Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP Network

"Uday Shankar is not just a media personality in this country; he is an institution in himself.  He has dealt with a generation of media persons and organisations and created extraordinary milestones for the growth of media and entertainment sector in India.

The value he created for 21st Century Fox by doing what he did at Star is unprecedented in India’s media and entertainment sector. Uday as I know only competes with one thing-he competes with what he is capable of.  He is an outlier, an amazing human being, a mentor to lesser mortals like us and a thinker beyond imagination.

What he does next is worth waiting for and last but not the least if he moves out from the media and entertainment industry to do something else it would be an irreparable loss for our sector."

He never took anything lying down: Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands India

“Uday Shankar has taken big strides and changed the world of broadcasting. For an entertainment company to make an entry into Cricket at that point in time was big, and it is now paying handsome dividends. He’s rallied the industry together many times in a bid to solve industry issues.

I first met Uday at dinner some 15 years ago. He had recently assumed the leadership role at Star News. We got to talking and discussed organisational values for some 40 minutes in the corner. Today, people speak about his business acumen, but that time it was unique to see a journalist who had gotten into a business position.

We’ve stayed good friends all these years, but that meeting has stayed with me. Most people didn’t speak about values, credibility and standing up for what’s right back then, because the news was in such chaos. He never took anything lying down and would not look the other way just because it suited his purpose.

Today, people listen to whatever he may say because he is in such a vital position. However, for him to speak up and stand by his roadmap and conscience even back then was remarkable.”

A torch bearer for broadcasting fraternity: Ashish Bhasin, CEO, APAC and Chairman, India, Dentsu Aegis Network

“Uday has been a torch bearer, not just for Star but for the entire broadcasting fraternity. He has never hesitated to state his mind bluntly, even on difficult issues, which is not commonly seen in professionals these days. I am sure he will do extremely well in whatever venture he takes up and I wish him the very best for his next innings.”

Uday Shankar has a Midas touch: Anupriya Acharya, CEO, Publicis Groupe South Asia

“Uday Shankar undoubtedly has had a Midas touch. Under his leadership, Disney-Star has seen a meteoric rise by pushing all creative boundaries, scaling up operations and drumming up innovation and growth. His bold vision, focus and actions, be it the acquisition of the broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League – touted to be a landmark deal in India’s sports broadcast history, disruption of the digital space with the launch of Hotstar and now Disney+, iconic shows such as ‘Satyamev Jayate’ and focus on grassroots sports such as Kabaddi, is truly admirable. At an industry level, he has accelerated future-readiness and value-creation for the industry as a whole. It’s been wonderful knowing him through the years and I wish him all the very best for the innings ahead.”

Uday’s innings was transformational: Gayatri Yadav, Marketing & Business Leader

“Uday’s innings was transformational, not just for the company, but the industry as a whole. I am super excited for what lies ahead! The next generation of entrepreneurs will deeply benefit from Uday’s vision, his unique fusion of creativity and technology and an obvious bias for disruption.”


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