Sameer Pitalwalla, director of video and celebrity at Disney UTV, has put in his papers at the company. Pitalwalla moves on to start his own venture and his last working day at Disney UTV will be June 28. Confirming the news to afaqs!, Pitalwalla says that the company is still looking for his replacement.
Meanwhile, Pitalwalla plans to launch a company in the digital video space targeted to India in partnership with Venkat P, a YouTube US executive. Though the launch date for the new company is not finalised, Pitalwalla says that he will start working on the services immediately.
The development comes close to the exit of Vishal Gondal, MD (digital), Disney India, who left the company in April. Gondal also quit the company to become an entrepreneur.
Pitalwalla joined Disney UTV in January, 2011, as business head, 3G. At that time, the company was called UTV Interactive, before Disney acquired a controlling stake in the company in 2012. Pitalwalla was responsible for driving the 3G initiatives across platforms for the UTV Interactive division.
Prior to Disney UTV, Pitalwalla was working as head, digital, Times Audience Network (TAN), the digital video arm of the Times Group. He was responsible for creating the online video and on-demand video platforms for mobile and web as a part of the TAN initiative. Pitalwalla was also the business head of Follo, the arm of the Times Group, which handles the digital distribution of celebrity content.
Pitalwalla was also head of the digital division of Zoom Entertainment Network. He holds an MA in Media Management from the University of Westminster (UK) and a bachelor's degree in Mass Media and Advertising from the University of Mumbai.
In August 2012, Walt Disney Company consolidated all its digital media properties across platforms and content categories under a new entity in India called Disney UTV Digital, which was co-headed by Vishal Gondal and Samir Bangara. Following this, Bangara left the company and joined AR Rahman and Shekhar Kapur's media start-up Qyuki.com as MD and CEO.