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Mahesh Samat returns to Walt Disney

He will resume management of all Disney businesses in India, except ESPN.

Walt Disney International, a division of The Walt Disney Company, has announced today that Mahesh Samat will resume his role as managing director (MD) of The Walt Disney Company India. He will take over the management of all Disney businesses in India (except ESPN), with all local business segments reporting to him.

Mahesh Samat returns to Walt Disney

Speaking about his role, Samat says, "It's exciting to return to the wonderful world of Disney. 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 the 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."

Samat left Disney India four years ago to establish Epic Television Networks and was founder and MD of The Epic Channel, a popular Hindi entertainment channel (HD) that focussed on history, folklore, and mythology-based content.

"(Mahesh) Samat guided Disney in India in its early days, and we are thrilled with his decision to return to the organisation he helped build," says Andy Bird, chairman, Walt Disney International. "We are encouraged by the opportunity we see to further grow our business in India and believe Samat'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," adds Bird.

Samat succeeds Siddharth Roy Kapur, who is leaving the company to explore his own business interests. "(Sid) Roy Kapur 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 thankful for his service and wish him well in his next venture," says Bird.

As MD, Samat will have the responsibility for setting and driving The Walt Disney Company's strategy, coordinate all business efforts in India including overseeing Disney global franchises in the market, expand existing businesses, and create new business opportunities. Samat, who will be based in Mumbai and report directly to Bird, will resume his duties from November 28.

Samat, who has more than 25 years of experience in the FMCG and healthcare sectors across India, the Asia-Pacific, and Europe, first joined Disney from Johnson & Johnson, where he was the MD, Southern Europe, J&J Vision Care, and was based in London. Prior to Johnson & Johnson, he worked for Kellogg's, Warner Lambert/Parke-Davis, and Boots India.

Samat holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Sydenham College and a post graduate degree in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.

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