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Disney announces successor of MD Siddharth Roy-Kapur

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MUMBAI: Walt Disney International has announced the successor to its former managing director Siddharth Roy-Kapur. As a second stint with the organization, Mahesh Samat has made a comeback and will lead The Walt Disney Company India as the managing director. He will pursue his new responsibility from 28 November and will be based in Mumbai.

Samat will report directly to Walt Disney International chairman Andy Bird. One of his key roles will be to resume management of all Disney businesses in India (except ESPN), with all local business segments reporting into him.

Samat will be responsible for setting and driving the company’s strategy, coordinating all business efforts in India including overseeing Disney global franchises in the market, expanding existing businesses, and creating new business opportunities.

“Mahesh guided Disney in India in its early days, and we are thrilled with his decision to return to the organization he helped build,” said Bird. He further added, “We are encouraged by the opportunity we see to further grow our business in India and believe Mahesh’s entrepreneurial spirit, knowledge of our brands and franchises, and long-standing expertise in our broader operations will continue the momentum we are experiencing in this dynamic market.”

With this, Roy-Kapur departs from the company to explore his own business interests.

“Sid is a pillar of the Indian entertainment industry and has demonstrated passion and commitment for the Disney business. He carved a strong position for Disney in the Indian media and entertainment space that positions us well for the future. We are immensely thankful for his service and wish him well in his next venture,” added Bird.

Samat had moved away from Disney India four years ago to establish Epic Television Networks and is the founder and MD of The Epic Channel.

“It’s exciting to return to the wonderful world of Disney,” Samat said. “Disney really is special entertainment with heart, and I am delighted to see that the unique stories and iconic characters of Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars -- as well as our homegrown brands of Hungama, Bindass and UTV -- continue to find a home among Indian audiences. Moving forward, we’ll accelerate the great work done by the team and create new, innovative ways for audiences to engage with our stories, brands and characters, and drive growth across our businesses.”

With more than 25 years of experience in FMCG and healthcare across India, Asia-Pacific and Europe, Samat originally joined Disney from Johnson & Johnson, where he was the managing director Southern Europe for J&J Vision Care. Prior to that, he worked for Kellogg’s, Warner Lambert/Parke-Davis and Boots India Limited.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Sydenham College and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management.

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