Uday elevated as Chairman Star & Disney India; President Walt Disney Co APAC

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The Walt Disney Co. has confirmed the appointment of Uday Shankar as chairman, Star and Disney India, and president, The Walt Disney Co. Asia Pacific as part of a leadership reorganization strategy.

Uday Shankar is currently president, 21st Century Fox, Asia, and chairman and CEO of Star India. The direct-to consumer and international segments of the company have sought strategic alignment of their consolidated international business units as part of the integration planning for the pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox, Inc.

The Walt Disney Co. had agreed to buy Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. for about $52.4 billion in stock last December.

“The planned restructuring of our business units outside of the US will result in a stronger, more agile organization, one that is better able to pivot and capitalize on the many opportunities present in today’s fast-changing and increasingly complex global marketplace,” Kevin Mayer, chairman of The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer and international segment said in a statement. “Once the acquisition is complete, all three regions will be led by exceptional, highly experienced executives who will combine the best of the best talent from both organizations. This new structure and the outstanding leadership team we’ve put in place are clear demonstrations of our strong commitment to integrating operations and thoughtfully executing our strategic priorities around the globe.”

Also Read: Variety 500 names Star India chairman, CEO Uday Shankar in Top Global Executives

The structure, Disney said, will allow for more efficient management of the company’s portfolio of assets and the optimization of resources applied in support of the company’s strategic priorities. The international operating structure and executive management of the direct-to-consumer segment, effective upon the completion of the acquisition, will include three distinct regions. Apart from Shankar who will oversee the Asia Pacific region, Rebecca Campbell, currently president, the Walt Disney Company Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will maintain oversight of this region besides looking after Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Further, Diego Lerner, who currently serves as president, The Walt Disney Company Latin America, will maintain oversight of this region. All three will report to Mayer.

Reporting to Shankar as part of the Asia Pacific leadership team will be Luke Kang, executive vice president and managing director, Greater China, Japan and Korea, Kylie Watson-Wheeler, managing director, Australia and New Zealand and Chafic Najia, senior vice president and managing director, Middle East.

In the coming weeks, Disney plans to announce additional executives joining the three regional leadership teams as well as the global sales organization in the direct-to-consumer and international segments.

DTCI’s international operating structure and executive management, effective upon the completion of the acquisition, will include three distinct regions:

  • EMEA– Rebecca Campbell, who currently serves as President, The Walt Disney Company EMEA, will maintain oversight of this region and adds oversight of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
  • Latin America – Diego Lerner, who currently serves as President, The Walt Disney Company Latin America, will maintain oversight of this region
  • Asia Pacific – Uday Shankar, who currently serves as President, 21st Century Fox, Asia, and Chairman and CEO of Star India, will become Chairman, Star and Disney India, and President, The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific

Additionally, Janice Marinelli will serve as President, Global Content Sales and Distribution.  Responsible for DTCI’s integrated global content sales organization, she will lead and have oversight of the company’s programming sales efforts for its combined portfolio of content, as well as the distribution of branded direct-to-consumer apps and services to broadcasters, digital services and other third-party distributors around the world.

Campbell, Lerner, Marinelli and Shankar will report to Mayer.

Joining the EMEA leadership team, reporting to Campbell, are:

  • Jan Koeppen, currently President of Fox Networks Group Europe and Africa, who will serve as President, Television and Direct to Consumer, The Walt Disney Company EMEA
  • Marina Jigalova-Ozkan, who will continue in her current role as DTCI’s Managing Director, Russia and CIS for The Walt Disney Company CIS LLC

Joining the Latin America leadership team, reporting to Lerner, is:

  • Carlos Martinez, President, Fox Networks Group, Latin America, who will serve as Executive Vice President and General Manager, Media Networks, North and Brazil, The Walt Disney Company Latin America

Reporting to Shankar as part of the Asia Pacific leadership team will be the following current DTCI executives:

  • Luke Kang, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Greater China, Japan and Korea
  • Kylie Watson-Wheeler, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand
  • Chafic Najia, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Middle East

Additionally, the following DTCI business leaders will all continue in their previously announced roles, reporting to Mayer:

  • Rita Ferro, President, Disney Advertising Sales
  • Aaron LaBerge, Chief Technology Officer
  • Michael Paull, President, Disney Streaming Services
  • Ricky Strauss, President, Content & Marketing, Disney+

The current leaders of DTCI’s shared services areas, listed below, will continue in their roles:

  • Linda Bagley, Deputy General Counsel
  • Karen Hobson, Senior Vice President, Communications
  • Jim Lygopoulos, Senior Vice President, Human Resources
  • Justin Warbrooke, Chief Financial Officer

Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox has received formal approval from shareholders of both companies, and Disney and 21st Century Fox have entered into a consent decree with the US Department of Justice that allows the acquisition to proceed, while requiring the sale of the Fox Sports Regional Networks. The transaction is subject to various international regulatory clearances, a number of which have been obtained, while others remain pending.

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