Disney International's Andy Bird honored

Exec increased penetration of Disney's existing businesses

Just four years ago when Andy Bird became chairman of Walt Disney International, the global entertainment powerhouse had no full-time employees in India outside of its sports interests there, Bird recalled at an international industry awards event in West Hollywood on Friday.

"Now India for Disney is a place of unparalleled opportunity," he said in accepting an Industry Leadershp Award as part of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles at the House of Blues.

Timmy Kandhari, leader of the entertainment and media practice PricewaterhouseCoopers also received a leadership award. He was unable to attend in person. But his colleagues feted him for his decades of service to major Indian multinational clients in India and the U.S. He has worked with such companies as Zee Telefilms, Hutch, Airtel, CNN, STAR, Nimnbus & Shyam Telecom.

Bird is responsible for targeting new businesses, growing and increasing penetration of Disney's existing businesses in developed markets such as Western Europe and Japan, and leading the development of business and operations in emerging markets, including India.

Disney, Bird said, is pursing opportunities in India on television, film and other entertainment arenas. He has been instrumental in Disney's entry into the Indian market through its fast-growing Disney-branded businesses including a joint-venture in ESPN STAR Sport, the acquisition of Hungama TV, a leading Indian children's television channel, a 32.1% equity stake in UTV Software Communications Limited and a recent agreement with Yash Raj Films Studios, India's premier studio, to create a series of original and exclusive computer-animated feature films.

Bird praised Disney's Indian business partners saying that they were a constant pleasure to do business with. "Our relationship with UTV is nothing short of spectacular," he added.

Presenting the awards were Christina Marouda, executive director of the Indian Film Festival and Arnold Peter and David Tenzer of Los Angeles entertainment law firm Raskin Peter Rubin & Simon.