Shankar rejigs Disney top mgmt; Gupta is India country manager

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MUMBAI: The expected top level management changes at the Asia Pacific level in the the Walt Disney Company following the completion of Disney's acquisition of most of the assets of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. have been executed.

In an internal memo issued Monday, Uday Shankar, chairman, Star and Disney India, and president, The Walt Disney Co. Asia Pacific, stated: “It is a momentous opportunity to be able to chart the course of The Walt Disney Co. in Asia Pacific and Middle East. 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.”

In his memo, Shankar also confirmed:
- Star India managing director Sanjay Gupta will be country manager of India and will also have direct responsibility for the studio business in the country.

- North Asia will be led by Luke Kang who will look after business including direct country management of Mainland China and Japan.

– Amit Malhotra, formerly head of Malaysia and Singapore at Disney, will lead emerging markets. He will also lead content sales for APAC (except North Asia). In addition to reporting to Shankar, he will report to Janice Marinelli, president of global content sales and distribution for Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.

– Disney’s Kylie Watson-Wheeler will continue to serve as country manager of Australia and New Zealand, with direct responsibility for media networks and direct-to-consumer.

– Disney SVP Chafic Najia will be country manager of the Middle East Media cluster.

Functional leads:
- K Madhavan will lead Star India’s regional language media networks.

- Sanjay Jain (former CFO at Star) and Amita Maheshwari will lead finance and human resource respectively.

- Deepak Jacob will be the chief regional counsel for India, South East Asia and Middle East.

- Anju Jain Kumar (from Disney) will be the chief regional counsel for North Asia and ANZ.

- Kurt Rieder will lead the studio business for APAC (except India).

– 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.