Disney Sets K. Madhavan as India President

Patrick Frater
·2-min read

K. Madhavan has been named president of The Walt Disney Company India and Star India, effective immediately. The move confirms Madhavan’s rise and locks in Disney’s recent management changes in Asia.

India was a key part of Disney’s reasons for acquiring 21st Century Fox, and Madhavan will have responsibility for the vast Disney, Star and Hotstar businesses and operations that span entertainment, sports and regional channels, and direct-to-consumer.

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In December, Disney appointed veteran executive Luke Kang as president of Asia-Pacific, ex-India. with responsibility for operations in Australia/New Zealand, Greater China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

A former investment banker, Madhavan first joined Fox’s Star India in 2009 as its South India head. He served as country manager of Star & Disney India, overseeing the Company’s television and studios business in India. He has been responsible for driving the growth of the business, focusing on innovation, and creating compelling content for consumers.

He takes over as India president from another Fox alumnus, Uday Shankar, who rose to head Asia for Disney and held the top job from February 2019, but resigned with effect from the end of 2020. Shankar has now begun a career as an independent entrepreneur and recently announced the launch of a joint venture with James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems.

The Madhavan promotion was announced by Rebecca Campbell, chairman, international operations and direct-to-consumer, The Walt Disney Company.

“For the past several months, I have had the pleasure of working directly with KM and have seen firsthand how he has adeptly managed our India business, which has been and will continue to be critical to our global and regional strategy,” said Campbell. “A skilled leader with an extensive background in media, KM has taken our vast Star networks and local content production businesses to new heights despite continued industry evolution and significant challenges due to the pandemic.”

Madhavan also currently serves as president of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and as chairman of the national committee of media and entertainment at the Confederation of Indian Industry.

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