Star Leadership

Imagining the Future

UDAY SHANKAR

President, The Walt Disney Company APAC

Chairman, Star & Disney India

As president, The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India, Uday Shankar leads the charge for Disney’s transformation into a direct-to-consumer company in the most exciting region of the world. He is also focused on creating deeply local media assets in the region. Along with his leadership of Disney’s media networks and direct-to-consumer businesses, Shankar also oversees Disney’s film distribution and content sales operations in APAC, which has emerged as the fastest growing market for this business.   

Prior to his current role, Uday 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 since then has transformed Star into one of the largest and most successful media companies in Asia. A believer in the power of local execution, Shankar led the company’s aggressive foray into regional and local language programming, transforming Star into a content powerhouse which now broadcasts more than 30,000 hours of content every year. 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 and is fundamentally redefining India’s sports ecosystem. In a notoriously single sport country, Star has launched multiple domestic sports leagues like those in Kabaddi and Football and has pioneered the agenda of creating a thriving multi-sports culture.

Under Shankar’s leadership, Star has also made strides in disrupting the country’s digital landscape with the launch of Hotstar, which is now India’s largest over-the-top (OTT) platform for professionally produced content and has gone global in its footprint with offerings in the US, Canada and the UK. With its strong technology muscle, Hotstar has guided the evolution of Star beyond a traditional media institution into a leading consumer technology company. It is now the largest digital video platform outside of US and China. Under his leadership, Star has transformed into a multi-screen, multi-genre media network and reaches more than 790 million viewers every month in more than 100 countries. It broadcasts 60+ TV channels in 8 different languages in India, reaching 9 out of every 10 C&S TV homes.

In addition to his leadership of Star, Shankar has played a key role in shaping the media and entertainment sector in India, bringing reforms for the industry and its consumers. He has been at the forefront of landmark initiatives in television broadcasting including self-regulation and digitization of the television distribution ecosystem. Currently, he is vice president of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), chairman of FICCI’s Media and Entertainment Committee and is the former president of the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF).

A trained journalist, Shankar also pioneered the development of the TV news ecosystem in India. Prior to Star India, he was the 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.

Shankar holds an M. Phil in Economic History from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager, Star & Disney India

Sanjay Gupta is the Country Manager of Star & Disney India. In this role, Sanjay sets the strategy and vision for the company’s businesses across entertainment, sports, digital and studios.

“We challenge status quo in everything we do”

Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager of Star & Disney India

Sanjay leads the growth agenda in India, where he is focussed on creating impactful, enduring, local stories and making them available across linear and digital platforms.

Sanjay has been a driver of Star’s growth journey by taking bold risks, innovating branded entertainment and introducing new content genres across regions. He has been instrumental in expanding traditional television content to digital platforms through Hotstar, overseeing adoption of HD channels and creating India’s first media company powered by technology. He has been deeply involved in building the sports business through acquisition of rights for marquee content like IPL, ICC and BCCI, and re-invention of sports with the launch of leagues in kabaddi and football.

Before Star, Sanjay was the Chief Marketing Officer of Bharti Airtel, running marketing, sales and distribution. Prior to Airtel, Sanjay worked at Hindustan Unilever where he led marketing for two of the company's largest segments, Oral Care and Home Care.

A post graduate from IIM Calcutta, he brings in over 20 years of experience across categories.

K Madhavan, Managing Director (South)

K Madhavan is the MD of South Business, Star India since 2016. His pioneering efforts have led to the development and growth of the entire television market in the South region.

“Impact to me is getting results and for that one needs to inspire one's team and consumers at the same time”

K Madhavan, Managing Director (South)

He currently oversees the business ventures of Star in four southern states and a portfolio of regional channels in Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.

Madhavan has been instrumental in transforming Asianet as the undisputed leader in Malayalam by acquiring more than 50 percent of the market share. Under his trusted leadership, the channel has been taken to more than 100 countries.

Madhavan believes in the entrepreneurial culture. His vision has led us to set benchmarks in quality programming in the South, which is now being replicated throughout India. Prior to his media career, Madhavan was into banking and corporate finance. In 1999, he joined Asianet Communications Ltd. as Director and took charge of the company as the MD and CEO in 2000. Madhavan joined Star as South Head in 2008 after Star acquired Asianet. He is also Director of IBF and the President of Kerala Television Federation.

Madhavan's leadership style has proven invaluable in growing the South business of Star.

Sanjay Jain, President & Chief Financial Officer

Sanjay Jain is President & Chief Financial Officer of Star where he leads financial planning, M&A, tax, treasury, forecasting and investor relations. Sanjay joined us in 2005 as Deputy CFO and has been part of our biggest transformations over the years. He conceptualised and implemented the transition of operations from Hong Kong to India – a turning point in our journey.

“It’s about keeping innovation at the center of everything we do and creating greater shareholder value”

Sanjay Jain, President & Chief Financial Officer

Sanjay is drawn to the energy of Star, the vibrant work culture and the constant desire for innovation. His mantra of ‘work with speed and efficiency’ reflects in his contribution to the business acquisitions of Asianet, MAA TV and ESS Sports. In the recent years, he has made significant improvements in our day-to-day businesses by implementing SAP for financial accounting and digitizing the vendor payable process.

Prior to joining Star India, Sanjay was Vice President – Service Delivery at Genpact overseeing a team of 300+ employees delivering high end financial operations. He also spent considerable time with GE Capital Services handling various assignments in controllership, financial planning and analysis, acquisition integration, across continents.

Sanjay holds a CA from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

“We’re witnessing an unprecedented demand for regional content in India and we’re poised to take things to the next level.”

Kevin Vaz, CEO, South Business

Kevin Vaz, CEO, South Business

Kevin Vaz is the CEO of South at Star, leading all of Star's business interests in the Southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Kevin's exceptional journey with Star started way back in 1996 and he has scaled new heights every year since then. He joined as Sales Executive and went on to became the Sales Manager in 2000. By 2009, Kevin was promoted as President – Ad Sales where he built the monetization engine that allowed Star to invest more aggressively in content and yet remain profitable.

In 2011, Kevin took over the premiere Bengali channel, Star Jalsha as General Manager and catapulted Jalsha into breaking its own ratings record with 'Chalo Paltai'. Kevin moved to lead the English channels cluster in 2013 where his role was to grow the English segment, especially in the light of digitization. Under his leadership, Star Movies Select HD was launched. In 2015, he took on the role of leading Hindi entertainment which includes Star Plus, and Star Utsav. Kevin started his career with The Times Of India Response as Senior Officer in 1992.

“We are happy to have our films, inspiring a billion imaginations – and paving the way for new thought. For all of us in the passionate business of film-making, there is no greater joy than this!”

Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios India

Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios India

Vijay Singh has been the CEO of Fox Star Studios India since 2008. Vijay is responsible for setting up the studio business in India which produces Bollywood films and has created a pan India marketing and distribution platform for Hollywood and Bollywood films.

Prior to this role, Vijay was President, Strategy & Corporate Development, and was responsible for developing new business strategy and overseeing Star’s joint venture businesses in India. Before joining Star India in April 2007, he was Managing Director - Developing Markets with the Tetley Group, London and was responsible for developing the Tetley brand across emerging markets including Russia, Eastern Europe, South Africa and South Asia. Vijay set up Sony Music Entertainment in India where he was responsible for setting up and then managing the growth plans of Sony’s music business as the Managing Director from 1996 to 2002. Prior to this, he worked with The Unilever Group, Walt Disney Consumer Products and the Tata Group as part of the Tata Administrative Services.

“We are passionate about our mission of taking sports to the grassroots and inspiring Indians to play every day.”

Gautam Thakar, CEO, Star Sports

Gautam Thakar, CEO, Star Sports

Gautam is CEO of Star Sports which has grown to become the home of sports in India. Gautam is committed to help pave the future for sports broadcasting through an intersection of technology and best in class fan viewing experience that will inspire India to play more.

 

Gautam brings over 20 years of experience in global leadership roles across Asia, Europe and the US in startups and multinational consumer and internet businesses. In his last role as President & CEO of Living Social in the US, he led the turnaround of the business leading to an acquisition by Groupon. Prior to that Gautam spent a decade at eBay in a variety of executive roles based in California. This included leading the global marketing team for eBay’s international business, managing eBay’s multibillion-dollar cross-border business, transforming a global subsidiary company called Shopping.com as CEO into a large ad tech player. Gautam started his career with Procter & Gamble where he was a regional brand manager for detergents based out of India and the Philippines.

Gautam is a passionate sports fan who doesn’t let his limited athletic prowess get in the way of his conviction in the power of sport to inspire and shape future generations. Gautam has an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow and a Bachelor’s in Commerce from Sydenham College, Mumbai.

“We have an entrepreneurial culture that encourages people to push the limits, often surprising them about their hidden potential.”

Amita Maheshwari, President & Head of Human Resources

Amita Maheshwari, President & Head, Human Resources

Amita is Head of HR since Star in 2009. Under her leadership, we have been able to diversify and upgrade our talent pool across the organization. Amita has successfully managed HR transitions and management changes during big-ticket launches and mergers & acquisitions of Asianet, Star Sports, Hotstar, MediaPro, Star CJ Alive, Maa TV, Movies OK, Star Movies Action, Jalsha Movies and Screen. As a reflective and caring leader, one of her most lauded initiatives at Star has been the implementation of the ‘Family Comes First’ policy, which includes the 6+6 maternal leave policy.

Amita is an Electronics & Telecom engineer with a specialization in Human Resources from XLRI. Before Star, she has worked in diverse organizations such as Asian Paints, GE Capital, Genpact and MetLife India Insurance. Amita also provides pro-bono support to Care India, an international NGO.

“As we expand our viewership, employees, and footprint across the globe, we’re equally mindful of building efficiencies and skills in the system to create a world class legal department”

Deepak Jacob, President & General Counsel

Deepak Jacob, President & General Counsel

Deepak Jacob has been the President & General Counsel of Star for the last nine years. Deepak has been pivotal in creating transformational legal and regulatory strategies which have guided the business through a decade of turbulent regulatory interventions, while ensuring that Star’s portfolio of channels continue to grow both in terms of revenue and market share.

Deepak played a significant role in the digitization of the analog TV industry resulting in unlocking of subscribers and revenues. He was one of the brains behind creating the self-regulatory mechanism for TV content i.e. the The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) for addressing consumer grievances and also preventing the government from censoring television content.

Deepak has been a part of Star’s growth story and the acquisitions of Asianet, ESPN Star Sports, Maa TV, creation of media pro and the launch of Hotstar. Prior to Star, Deepak served as the Head of Legal for eBay India, where he was responsible for managing risk and driving growth of the e-commerce platform. Previously, Deepak was the Senior Legal Counsel at Reliance Infocomm supporting the Broadband & Corporate Wireless division in building a successful business of bundled telecom services.

Deepak is an alumnus of University of Madras and has spent considerable time as a litigation lawyer in Delhi High Court.

“We deeply believe in the power of our storytellers - their characters can and do change society and make us believe that a better world is possible.”

Gaurav Banerjee, President & Head - Hindi GEC

Gaurav Banerjee, President & Head - Hindi GEC

Gaurav joined Star in 2008 and is currently the President and Head of Hindi entertainment. Since 2008, Gaurav has managed various responsibilities starting with curating content for Star’s regional channels to steering Star Jalsha to the number one spot within months of launch and heading the Content Studio. 

Gaurav became the Head of Content Strategy at Star Plus in October 2009 and was responsible for widely popular shows like 'Diya aur Baati Hum' and 'Sasural Genda Phool'. In his earlier years at Star, Gaurav anchored and executive produced Star News’ flagship 9 PM news show, 'Satyamev Jayate'. He was also responsible for launching Star Ananda which became the agenda setting news channel in Bengal. Gaurav believes that good stories provide context. It comes from his experience of being a journalist with Aaj Tak in 2000. As an anchor, he covered the Afghan war and the General Elections.

“My mission at Star is to take its storytelling to every home in the world.”

Gurjeev Singh Kapoor, President - Distribution

Gurjeev Singh Kapoor, President - Distribution

Gurjeev oversees distribution for India. His role involves expanding Star's footprint and accelerating the distribution agenda for India. Gurjeev also has moved the international business from strength to strength - currently, Star is available in over 109 countries. His current portfolio includes distribution, ad sales & syndication for international business. His key territories include the UK, Europe, US, ME, Africa & APAC.

Gurjeev believes in delivering. He believes that the right mix of people, passion and vision can turn things around and deliver success for a business. In his current role, Gurjeev has created efficiency in the market and improved the business yield. He has also opened new markets with the syndication business and increased the business footprint through deeper reach and new subscribers. Gurjeev moved to London to lead the International Business for Star after a stint at MediaPro India (JV between Star & Zee) as the COO - managing India’s biggest distribution portfolio across 68 channels. In his role at MediaPro, Gurjeev worked with industry stakeholders to address the anomalies of the analog market and doubled the revenue in just three years.

He has played an invaluable role in curbing piracy and accelerating the pace of digitization to bring greater transparency in the business. He is an experienced industry veteran, with 22 years in media across destination channels such as ESPN, Star Sports, Discovery & Sony.

Gurjeev is a mechanical engineer from Delhi College of Engineering and holds an MBA from Faculty of Management Studies. He is also an avid sports player.

“The foundational strength and adaptive nature of high growth businesses establish their scalability and sustainability in the long term. To achieve this, it is essential to be able to see around corners and distil market signals from the noise.”

Ipsita Dasgupta, President - Strategy and Incubation

Ipsita Dasgupta, President & Head - Strategy and Incubation

Ipsita Dasgupta is President – Strategy and Incubation at Star. Aside from heading group strategy, her mandate includes leading Hotstar International and Pro Kabaddi League. Ipsita’s work experience spans across the U.S., China, India and South East Asia and across multiple sectors, including technology, general industrials, and consulting. Her focus at Star is to incubate new businesses and drive next generation growth for the company.

Before joining Star, Ipsita was the Chief Commercial Officer of GE South Asia and Greater China where she was responsible for marketing, strategy, new product and solutions, and strategic customer accounts across GE businesses. She led ‘In India for India’ growth programs, sales force effectiveness for the region, and was responsible for GE Bangladesh.

Prior to joining GE, Ipsita was Managing Director, Smart Connected Communities – Emerging Businesses at IBM. Her key responsibilities included developing business opportunities in Emerging Markets with a specific focus on the global, emerging middle class. Ipsita then joined Cisco, where she worked since 2002, bringing multi-faceted experience heading emerging markets strategy, marketing and in building and leading strategic business and consulting competencies at company-wide and regional levels.

Ipsita holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics from Columbia University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

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