Mahesh Samat to Return as Head of Disney India

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Samat will report to Andy Bird.

Four years after he left the company, he will succeed Siddharth Roy-Kapur.

Mahesh Samat will return to the post of head of The Walt Disney Company India, the company said Tuesday.

As managing director, he will have responsibility for all business segments of the Indian arm of Disney. He succeeds Siddharth Roy-Kapur, who is leaving to explore unspecified other "business interests."

Starting Nov. 28, Samat will be based in Mumbai and report to Andy Bird, chairman, Walt Disney International. Samat had left Disney India four years ago to establish Epic Television Networks and was founder and managing director of Hindi entertainment channel The Epic Channel.

“Mahesh guided Disney in India in its early days, and we are thrilled with his decision to return to the organization he helped build,” said Bird. “We are encouraged by the opportunity we see to further grow our business in India and believe Mahesh’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.”

Said Samat: “It’s exciting to return to the wonderful world of Disney. Disney really is special entertainment with heart, and 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 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 originally joined Disney from Johnson & Johnson, where he was managing director, Southern Europe, J&J Vision Care, based in London. Prior to Johnson & Johnson, he worked for Kellogg’s, Warner Lambert/Parke-Davis, and Boots India Ltd.