New Delhi: Mahesh Samat, founder and managing director at Hindi entertainment channel Epic, has been named managing director at The Walt Disney Co. India. Samat, who succeeds Siddharth Roy Kapur, will resume management of all Disney businesses in India (except ESPN), with all local business segments reporting to him, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Samat had quit Disney India to head the television channel that he co-owns with Mukesh Ambani, Rohit Khattar and Anand Mahindra in 2012.
On 24 August, Mint reported that Kapur was likely to quit the studio following the release of Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal.
As managing director, Samat will be responsible for setting and driving The Walt Disney India’s strategy, coordinating all business efforts in India including overseeing Disney global franchises in the market, expanding existing businesses and creating new business opportunities, the statement said. Samat, who will assume the position on 28 November, will be based in Mumbai and report directly to Andy Bird, chairman, Walt Disney International.
“Mahesh guided Disney in India in its early days, and we are thrilled with his decision to return to the organization he helped build,” Bird said in the press statement. “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.”
Samat holds a bachelor of commerce degree from Sydenham College, Mumbai, and a masters degree in business administration from the Indian Institute of Management. He has more than 25 years of experience in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) and healthcare sectors across India, Asia-Pacific and Europe. He originally joined Disney from Johnson & Johnson, where he was managing director, southern Europe, J&J Vision Care, prior to which he worked for Kellogg’s, Warner Lambert/Parke-Davis and Boots India Ltd.