Shankar will remain with Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international segment through the end of 2020 to help appoint his successor and ensure a smooth transition.
Uday Shankar will step down as president, The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India, effective as of December 31, 2020.
The announcement was made by Rebecca Campbell, Chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment. Over the next three months, Shankar will work closely with Campbell to identify his successor to ensure a smooth transition.
Since February 2019, 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.
Shankar led Star’s 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.
Under 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 for professionally produced content and has gone global in its footprint with offerings in the US, Canada and the UK.
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 Hindi news channel Aaj Tak in 2000 and English news channel Headlines Today in 2003.
Commenting on his decision to step down, 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 has given me so much. 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.”
Campbell remarked: “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.
“Uday has been a great friend, colleague and valued counsellor 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.”