Uday Shankar, the long standing top media and entertainment executive helming Star, 20th Century Fox in this region for around one and half decades, has decided step down as president, The Walt Disney Company APAC and chairman, Star & Disney India, effective as of December 31, 2020.
This was announced by Rebecca Campbell, chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment.
Mr. Shankar is moving on to pursue an entrepreneurial career where in he would support and mentor India’s young minds to create transformational solutions with funding from global investors.
Over the next three months, Mr. Shankar will work closely with Ms. Campbell to identify his successor to ensure a smooth transition, the company said in a statement.
“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,” said Ms. Campbell.
“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,” she added.
Commenting on the development Mr. Shankar said, “I have always believed in the power of creativity and cutting-edge technology to create a better world and consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to do so at Star, 21CF and now at The Walt Disney Company.”
“As I look back on this journey, I take pride in having set ambitious goals in my professional career, and achieving all that we set out to do. For some time now, I have been contemplating the question of how I give back to the country, community and the industry that have given me so much,” he said.
“I think the best way to express my gratitude to all of them will be to support and mentor a new generation of entrepreneurs as they set out to create transformational solutions that will have a positive impact on countless lives. I intend to partner with global investors and pioneers to achieve this,” he said.
Since February 2019, Mr. Shankar has served as president, The Walt Disney Company APAC and chairman, Star & Disney India.
Previously, he was president of 21st Century Fox for Asia and the chairman & CEO of Star India.
He took over the leadership of Star India in 2007 and transformed the Star business into one of the largest and most successful media companies in Asia.
A believer in the power of local execution, Mr Shankar led Star’s aggressive foray into regional and local language programming, transforming Star into a content powerhouse.
He also consolidated Star’s sports broadcasting operations through 21st Century Fox’s acquisition of its joint venture with ESPN.
Today, Star Sports is India’s largest sports broadcaster.
Under Mr Shankar’s leadership, Star also made strides in the digital landscape with the launch of Hotstar, which is now India’s largest over-the-top (OTT) platform.
He previously served as CEO and editor of Star News, which was the first 24-hour news channel in India.
He was also the editor and news director at TV Today Group, where he spearheaded the launch of Aaj Tak, a leading Hindi news channel, in 2000 and Headlines Today, a leading English news channel, in 2003.