K Madhavan takes over as Walt Disney India and Star India president

K Madhavan takes the mantle of the Walt Disney Company India and Star India as the president, effective immediately. He succeeds Uday Shankar, who stepped down in October and left the media conglomerate in 2020 end.

The announcement was made by The Walt Disney Company chairman international operations and direct-to-consumer Rebecca Campbell early on Wednesday.

In his new role, Madhavan will drive the strategy and growth of the company in India, with responsibility for the vast Disney, Star and Hotstar businesses and operations spanning across entertainment, sports and regional channels, and direct-to-consumer. This includes oversight of channel distribution and advertising sales, as well as a thriving local content production business which currently is responsible for the creation of 18,000 hours of original content across fiction, non-fiction, sports, and movies in eight languages.

Speaking about his new position, Madhavan stated, “I am very proud to have the opportunity to lead the incredibly talented and passionate team we have in India, and to further build upon our strong portfolio of channels and high-quality programming that is a favourite with viewers across the region. We have an exciting journey ahead of us. I am committed to continuing to move our business forward, working more closely together with colleagues across Disney to enhance our global and regional offerings.”

Since 2019, Madhavan served as the country manager of Star and Disney India, overseeing the House of Mouse’s television and studios business in India. He has been responsible for driving the growth of the business, focusing on innovation, and creating compelling content for consumers. 

He joined Star India in 2009 as its south head. Under his leadership, Disney built a thriving regional entertainment portfolio. Previously, he was the driving force behind Asianet’s growth as the undisputed leader in Malayalam with more than 50 per cent of market share, serving as MD and CEO in 2000 to 2008. His vision for the regional language network led the company to set benchmarks in quality programming in south India. Prior to his media career, he was in the banking and corporate finance sector. 

Rebecca Campbell

Commenting on Madhavan’s promotion, Campbell added, “For the past several months, I have had the pleasure of working directly with KM and have seen first-hand how he has adeptly managed our India business, which has been and will continue to be critical to our global and regional strategy. A skilled leader with an extensive background in media, KM has taken our vast Star networks and local content production businesses to new heights despite continued industry evolution and significant challenges due to the pandemic.” 

Alongside, Madhavan currently serves as president of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and as chairman of the National Committee of Media & Entertainment CII (Confederation of Indian Industry).