MUMBAI: Disney’s International Content and Operations Group has announced the appointment of Sajith Sivanandan as executive vice president and head of Disney+ Hotstar.
Sivanandan, who joins Disney+ Hotstar from Google, will take up his new role in October and will be reporting in to Rebecca Campbell, chair of Disney’s International content and operations group and K. Madhavan, president, Disney Star.
Sivanandan will oversee Disney+ Hotstar’s overall business operations in India with direct responsibility for defining the streaming service’s strategic business priorities and charting a product roadmap for Disney+ Hotstar’s sustained and exponential growth in the years ahead. He will also work closely with local leadership in international markets as well as with the Disney+ team in the US to drive Disney+ Hotstar’s continuous growth which, with its unrivalled scale, innovation and breadth of content, has become the leading streaming service in India.
“I am delighted to have Sajith join our executive team and lead the innovative team at Disney+ Hotstar. His deep experience in the region, combined with his strong leadership and business management skills will greatly benefit Disney+ Hotstar as the platform embarks on its next phase of growth,” said Campbell.
“After witnessing rapid growth in recent years, the OTT market in India has entered a transformational phase which calls for an ingenious approach to the manner in which we innovate for growth. Sajith’s wealth of experience that he has gained over the years makes him the best person to lead Disney+ Hotstar on this journey,” said Madhavan.
Sivanandan added, “Disney and Star are brands with an incredibly rich history of innovation, user focus and storytelling, and Disney+ Hotstar brings those attributes together flawlessly. The opportunity to come back home to where I started my career and to work alongside a very talented team to serve Disney+ Hotstar users in India and in emerging countries is one that is both a privilege and an honour.”
Sivanandan, who has spent over 14 years at Google, is currently MD and business head, Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, Asia Pacific. Prior to that role, he led Google Pay in India, with responsibility for building the business from the ground up, defining and designing the overall strategy and growth for the service in the country.
He began his professional career with Star TV, now a Disney brand, in India in 1996, where he managed the North India market for Channel V.
Sivanandan replaces another Google executive, Sunil Rayan, who stepped down in March and is now chief business officer at machine learning solutions company Moloco.