Disney creates North and South Asia regional hubs; Mahesh Samat appointed MD South Asia

Mahesh Samat, Managing Director, Walt Disney International, South Asia
Walt Disney International (a part of The Walt Disney Company responsible for managing the company’s businesses outside of the United States, excluding theme parks and ESPN businesses) today announced a new Asia management structure that will see the creation of North Asia and South Asia regional hubs. North Asia will merge Japan, South Korea and Greater China under the leadership of executive vice president and managing director of Walt Disney International North Asia, Luke Kang. The South Asia hub merges India with the company’s integrated South East Asian regional markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam under the leadership of senior vice president and managing director of Walt Disney International South Asia, Mahesh Samat. “Our international leadership teams are tasked to increase Disney brand affinity and awareness in key markets around the world,” said Walt Disney International (WDI) chairman Andy Bird. “This new structure aligns and maximises efficiencies around regions with similar opportunities and creates the momentum to accelerate growth for the company in these markets,” he added. With operations in 45 countries throughout the world, WDI has implemented integrated structures in international markets that have greatly accelerated revenue in China, produced growth across Japan and Europe and provided unparalleled access to emerging markets throughout Latin America and South East Asia. “Luke and Mahesh have an acute understanding of our brands and franchises and long-standing expertise in our broader operations. This, combined with their understanding of the uniqueness of their markets, and intense entrepreneurial spirit, will continue the momentum we are experiencing in these dynamic regions,” said Bird. In his current capacity of The Walt Disney Company managing director Greater China Kang has led the organisation (excluding Disney’s parks and resorts division) to achieve consistent record growth across all business segments. In 2016, Disney was the number one foreign studio at the Chinese box office, and the organisation also successfully expanded its reach into new cities and to new consumer groups across China. Throughout his career, Kang held various management roles across the region. Mahesh Samat returned to lead The Walt Disney Company India in November 2016, a position he previously held from 2008-2012. Since returning to the role, he has implemented vast organisational changes, creating a clear strategy for the company and its brands in the Indian entertainment market. Samat also has more than twenty five years of experience in FMCG and healthcare across India, Asia-Pacific and Europe. “It is an honour to lead Walt Disney International in North Asia, which includes two of the biggest and most dynamic economies in the world. The region’s ever changing media and entertainment landscape as well as dynamic consumer products market provides incredible opportunity to continue to forge connections with our brands and franchises to drive growth,” said Kang. “The South East Asian region is characterised by its dynamic growth and extreme diversity. I am pleased to have the opportunity to lead both teams to create new, innovative ways for audiences to engage with our stories, brands and characters, and drive growth across our businesses,” said Samat. Both positions report directly to Bird.