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January 2018

UDAY SHANKAR TO HEAD 21ST CENTURY FOX, ASIA


Star India chairman and CEO Uday Shankar has been elevated to President, 21st Century Fox (21CF), Asia, effective immediately.

He will head the company's video businesses across all of Asia, including Star India and Fox Networks Group.

He will continue to serve as chairman and CEO of Star India.

Fox Networks Group Asia president Zubin Gandevia, who used to earlier report into 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice, will continue to oversee video brands across 14 markets and will now report to Uday.

Uday will not be connected with 21CF's film business in Asia which will continue to report directly to 20th Century Fox Film chairman & CEO Stacey Snider.

"Under Uday's leadership, our India business has firmly established itself as a world-class asset with durable businesses across entertainment, sports, satellite distribution and OTT. His strategic vision has put 21CF at the forefront of content and distribution in one of the world's fastest growing economies, and we are very fortunate to benefit from Uday's expanded leadership at a global level," said Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch and CEO James Murdoch in a joint statement.


Uday Shankar Took Over As Star India CEO From Peter Mukerjea, In Oct 2007.






UDAY SHANKAR

He has risen from not having enough money to afford even a TV set in Delhi in 1991 when he was a newspaper reporter.

He took over from Peter Mukerjea, as CEO of Star India, in Oct 2007.

Uday Shankar commenced his career, with the Times of India, around 1990 as a political correspondent, and later stints at Zee TV's news channel as a news producer, the Hindustan Times promoted Home TV, production house Sri Adhikari Brothers, Sahara TV, and then India Today group's Aaj Tak and Headlines Today. He headed Star News, a joint venture with Kolkata-based ABP group, after CEO Ravina Raj Kohli quit.

Today he is invested with the goal of Star India achieving an EBITDA of US $ 1 Billion (₹ 6,700 Crore) by end 2020.


LONG OVERDUE

Star India has been the best performer in Murdoch's Asia business for probably over a decade.

Today, Star India operates 60-plus channels across entertainment and sports in 8 languages, and operates OTT platform Hotstar. Star India creates 2 Hours of local Indian programming, every hours, 24x7.

Yet India was made to report to an Asia operational head, who probably had smaller business revenues & growth targets. As a result, Star India would have received less focus from headquarters than it deserved. That has now been correct with Uday Shankar's elevation to head the Asia business.


Star India has Finally Been Given The Long Overdue Visibility & Recognition


UNSTABLE TIMING?

Uday Shankar's elevation came a day after global reports that the Murdochs are selling most of their 21CF's assets (including Video which Uday now heads) to Disney, for approximately US$ 60 Billion (₹ 4,02,000 Crores). Also rumoured is that as part of the sale to Disney, Fox's current CEO James Murdoch, will also shift to Disney, and will continue to head the 21CF's sold businesses, at Disney. James may retain his organisation and key lieutenants from 21st Century Fox, at Disney. Currently, Disney has two Asian heads: one for south east and south Asia and the other for north Asia. Will Uday Shankar supersede both the Disney heads?

The purchase by Disney is likely to close before end December 2017, and we should have our answer, soon. n