Star Leadership

Imagining the Future

“Impact to me is getting results, and for that one needs to inspire the team and consumers simultaneously.”

K Madhavan, President, The Walt Disney Company India and Star India

K Madhavan, President, The Walt Disney Company India and Star India

As President, The Walt Disney Company India and Star India, K Madhavan drives 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.

Since 2019, K Madhavan served as Country Manager of Star & Disney India, overseeing the Company’s television and studios business in India. He was responsible for driving the growth of the business, focusing on innovation, and creating compelling content for consumers.

K Madhavan joined Star India in 2009 as its South Head. Under his leadership, the company 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% of market share, serving as MD and CEO in 2000-2008. His vision for the regional language network led the company to set benchmarks in quality programming in South India.   

Prior to his media career, K Madhavan was in the banking and corporate finance sector. K 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). 

He is a post-graduate in Commerce from Calicut University and Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB).

“We believe in keeping innovation at the center of everything we do, and creating greater shareholder value.”

Sanjay Jain, Head - India, Finance and Business Operations

Sanjay Jain, Head - India, Finance and Business Operations

Sanjay Jain is Head - India, Finance and Business Operations where he leads financial planning, M&A, tax, treasury, forecasting and investor relations. Sanjay joined Star in 2005 as Deputy CFO and has been part of Star's biggest transformations over the years. He conceptualised and implemented Star's transition of operations from Hong Kong to India.

Sanjay is drawn to the energy of Star, the vibrant work culture and the constant desire for innovation. His mantra of ‘work with speed and efficiency’ reflects in his contribution to the business acquisitions of Asianet, MAA TV and ESS Sports. In the recent years, he has made significant improvements in day-to-day business by implementing SAP for financial accounting and digitizing the vendor payable process.

Prior to joining Star India, Sanjay was Vice President – Service Delivery at Genpact overseeing a team of 300+ employees delivering high end financial operations. He also spent considerable time with GE Capital Services handling various assignments in controllership, financial planning and analysis, acquisition integration, across continents.

Sanjay holds a CA from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented demand for regional content in India and we’re poised to take things to the next level.”

Kevin Vaz, President & Head - Infotainment, Kids & Regional Entertainment Channels, Star & Disney India

Kevin Vaz, President & Head - Infotainment, Kids & Regional Entertainment Channels, Star & Disney India

As President & Head of Infotainment, Kids, and Regional Entertainment channels at Star & Disney India, Kevin Vaz is responsible for shaping the vision for the National Geographic, Disney Kids, and Regional entertainment channels. In his stint of over 20 years with Star, Kevin has played an instrumental role in the growth of the network. He has held leadership roles across different genres and built scale, relevance, and market leadership.

Before taking on an expanded role, Kevin was spearheading the regional entertainment channels across Maharashtra, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, and Karnataka. In his stewardship, the regional GECs portfolio has grown significantly and several channels have attained leadership and the highest market share.

In 2013, he drove the successful launch of English premium HD offerings with Star Movies Select and Star World Premiere while leading the English cluster of channels; in 2011, he took on the responsibility to lead Star Jalsha which he quickly catapulted into the #1 entertainment channel in West Bengal. Kevin joined Star in 1996 and soon became the youngest Ad sales lead in the company’s history. 

Kevin began his career with Times Response as Senior Officer in 1992. He holds a Diploma in Business Management from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.

“We have an entrepreneurial culture that encourages people to push the limits, often surprising them about their hidden potential.”

Amita Maheshwari, Head HR - DMED, APAC & India, The Walt Disney Company

Amita Maheshwari, Head HR - DMED, APAC & India, The Walt Disney Company

Amita joined Star in 2009. Under her leadership, Star has been able to diversify and upgrade its talent pool across the organization. Amita has successfully managed HR transitions and management changes during big-ticket launches and mergers & acquisitions of Asianet, Star Sports, Disney+ Hotstar, MediaPro, Star CJ Alive, Maa TV, Movies OK, Star Movies Action, Jalsha Movies and Screen. As a reflective and caring leader, one of her most lauded initiatives at Star has been the implementation of the ‘Family Comes First’ policy, which includes the 6+6 maternal leave policy.

Amita is an Electronics & Telecom engineer with a specialization in Human Resources from XLRI. Before Star, she has worked in diverse organizations such as Asian Paints, GE Capital, Genpact and MetLife India Insurance. Amita also provides pro-bono support to Care India, an international NGO.

“Our stories are created with a purpose to drive change, challenge stereotypes and shape a progressive narrative in the country.”

Gaurav Banerjee, President & Head - Hindi and English Entertainment, Star India

Gaurav Banerjee, President & Head - Hindi and English Entertainment, Star India

Gaurav is President and Head of Hindi and English entertainment at Star India. In this role, he leads the entertainment portfolio that includes general entertainment, movie channels and Hotstar original content.

Gaurav joined Star India in 2004 as Anchor and Executive Editor of Star News prime time shows. He moved on to lead the content strategy of the network’s regional entertainment channels in 2008 and expanded the company’s reach in two new markets, Bengal and Maharashtra with Star Jalsha and Star Pravah respectively. Within a year of launch, Star Jalsha became the number one Bengali language channel in India.

In October 2009, Gaurav moved on to Hindi entertainment as Head of Content Strategy at Star Plus, and he was responsible for Star’s widely popular shows like 'Diya aur Baati Hum' and 'Sasural Genda Phool'.

Gaurav took on the role of General Manager of Star Plus in 2013 and propelled Star Plus into a strong leadership brand with blockbuster shows like Mahabharata and Yeh Hai Mohabbatein.

Around 2015-2016, as Star’s entertainment became available across screens, Gaurav took charge as the leader of the Content Studio and refreshed the storytelling approach for Star Plus and Star Bharat. Gaurav also leads Star’s English portfolio which includes Star Movies and Star World. He has strengthened the Hotstar library with world class content that appeals to unique tastes of the audiences with Hotstar Specials.

Gaurav is dedicated to nurturing a pool of talented writers with Star Writers Program – one of India’s most immersive courses in television writing.

Gaurav believes that good stories provide context. It comes from his experience of being a journalist with Aaj Tak in 2000. As an anchor, he covered the Afghan war and the General Elections.

Gaurav has a Master’s in Film Making and Video from Mass Communications Research Centre, Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi.

“My mission at Star is to take its storytelling to every home in the world.”

Gurjeev Singh Kapoor, President - TV Distribution, India and International, Star & Disney India

Gurjeev Singh Kapoor, President - TV Distribution, India and International, Star & Disney India

Gurjeev Singh Kapoor heads TV Distribution for Star India network in India and International markets.  He is responsible for expanding the network’s footprint in more than 109 countries, accelerating the distribution agenda for India and International markets, including the UK, Europe, US, ME, Africa & the APAC region.

Gurjeev has spearheaded the transformation of the India distribution business under a pioneering channel retail pricing regime and strengthened the network’s presence across TV homes in the country. Segmented channel bundles were rolled out under his guidance to enable consumer choice with affordable pricing and attractive packaging options. He has played a significant role in making Sports more accessible to the Indian audiences by ensuring mass adoption of the Star Sports portfolio across semi-urban and rural segments, as well as regional languages. He also fronted the efforts for the regional portfolio to gain a strong foothold with a strategic reach advantage across southern and other regional markets. 

A cable and broadcasting industry veteran with more than 25 years in the trade fraternity, Gurjeev is credited with innovations and best practices. He has played an instrumental role in digitization; collaborating with broadcasters, DPO partners, regulatory authorities, and other industry stakeholders, to join forces and build a digital highway that has been crucial in curbing piracy and bringing greater transparency in the business.

Prior to his current role, Gurjeev headed the International Business for Star out of London. He began his career with ESPN Star Sports for the South Asian countries, thereafter, he moved on to play crucial roles at Set Discovery(Business Head), Star Den Media Services(CEO), Media Pro(COO), a joint venture between Star DEN Media Services and Zee Turner.

Gurjeev holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering (DCE), and a Master's degree in Business Management from the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi University.

“The combined power of television and digital platform makes us the destination of choice for any brand.”

Nitin Bawankule, Head - Ad Sales, Star and Disney India

Nitin Bawankule, Head - Ad Sales, Star and Disney India

Nitin leads Ad Sales across both linear broadcast and OTT for Star India network and Disney+ Hotstar respectively.

Nitin has over two decades of experience in global sales, building large businesses, and expanding into new markets. His expertise includes scaling sales organizations, establishing strategic partnerships, and helping build long-lasting relationships with some of the biggest global internet and consumer brands.

Prior to joining Star India in 2019, Nitin worked with Google for over eight years. In his last role, as the Country Director for Google Cloud India, he spearheaded the exponential growth of Cloud adoption in the country. In addition, Nitin has led the Google Ads business as Industry Director. Before joining Google, Nitin worked with Dell as a Director, where he handled multiple sales and business roles. 

Nitin holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing and Finance from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and Bachelor of Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology.

“India is known for its unique diversity; with Disney+ Hotstar, we aspire to connect millions through compelling storytelling enabled by seamless technological experiences.”

Sunil Rayan, President and Head, Disney+ Hotstar India

Sunil Rayan, President and Head, Disney+ Hotstar India

Sunil oversees Disney+ Hotstar’s overall business in India. He is responsible to drive continuous growth for Disney+ Hotstar which, with its unrivalled scale, innovation and breadth of content, has become the leading streaming service in India. 

 

He has over 20 years of experience, with a rare mix of product engineering and commercial expertise. He brings experiences from across the world – having scaled businesses in the US, setting up large teams in South East Asia, and working with super app players in Latin America.

Sunil joins Disney+ Hotstar India from Google (Mountain View, California) where he worked for 8 years, and last served as the GM & Managing Director, Cloud for Games. He oversaw product, engineering and business development to grow the Cloud business in the video games segment. Prior to Google, Sunil worked with McKinsey & Co. for 8 years, where he was instrumental in driving commercial growth for large tech clients and developed deep expertise in sales force productivity and technology-enabled selling. He has also worked with Infosys, iGATE Mastech and IBM.

Sunil was raised in Chennai and completed Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science from Madras University in 1996, after which he moved to the US in 1997.

“Businesses which mean to really disrupt, need to first define and believe in the big disruption, then take the plunge and then find a way to over-deliver the plan.”

Prateek Garg, Head of Corporate Development – Direct-to-Consumer & International, APAC, The Walt Disney Company

Prateek Garg, Head of Corporate Development – Direct-to-Consumer & International, APAC, The Walt Disney Company

Prateek is Head of Corporate Development – Direct-to-Consumer & International, APAC, The Walt Disney Company. In this role, he works on all strategic and transformational initiatives in the region with a focus on creating a world-class, direct-to-consumer digital business in the region.

Prateek joined Star in 2012, and since then has been instrumental in shaping the transformation of Star’s television business into a leading content-led digital enterprise. He oversaw the strategy and execution of the biggest initiatives spanning the depth and breadth of Star India, such as regional channel expansion in vernacular languages, building India’s largest and deeply local sports business, and the launch of India’s most successful digital platform Disney+ Hotstar (erstwhile Hotstar).

Prateek strengthened Star’s entertainment franchise by acquiring leading media networks. He led the sports team to successfully secure the highly sought-after marquee sports rights like IPL, BCCI & ICC, and conceptualised and operationalised domestic sports leagues to give India kabaddi and soccer as its #2 & #3 sport beyond cricket.

His work with Disney+ Hotstar (erstwhile Hotstar) has been focused on finding ‘out of the box’ strategic solutions and creating value for the business. Prateek is also responsible for championing strategic alliances with partners globally. Prateek moved in the Asia Pacific role after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company.

 
Before Star India, Prateek worked with HSBC Principal Investment team for five years. Prior to this, he was with Sun Group Private Equity and Ernst & Young Lead Advisory. 

Prateek is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has completed his MBA from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

“The focus is to make our universal stories relevant for fans in India and take our local stories to global audiences.”

Bikram Duggal, Vice President and Head - Studios, Star & Disney India

Bikram Duggal, Vice President and Head - Studios, Star & Disney India

Bikram Duggal is responsible for driving the Studios business, which encompasses all global releases from the iconic brands Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight Pictures, along with local productions through Fox Star Studios.

In this role, he is responsible for the marketing and distribution of the global movie releases in the country and he also leads the charge for the local productions on the creative, marketing, and distribution strategies. Under his leadership, with a sharp focus on consumer, creativity, and localization, the Studio business has grown exponentially. Bikram has been instrumental in the local success of blockbusters like Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame (the No.1 movie across India in 2019), Avengers: Infinity War, Thor Ragnarok, and Black Panther, and Disney titles including The Lion King, Frozen 2, which set new benchmarks in the film industry. He is now looking forward to creating similar successes through local productions, and building them into big movie franchises.

 

In his previous role, Bikram was leading marketing and distribution for the Studios business. Before that he was spearheading the corporate strategy and business development functions for Disney India. Bikram has also led the marketing and digital efforts for the Media Networks business, and supported creative functions in building Disney’s linear TV business in India.

Bikram has more than two decades of extensive experience in the media industry. Before joining Disney India, Bikram worked with global brands across multiple categories in companies like JWT, Lowe, HUL, and Turner. He also founded his venture in the premium tourism segment in an entrepreneurial stint shortly before joining Disney.

He has a post-graduate diploma in advertising and communications management from NMIMS, Mumbai.

“We believe in telling compelling stories that make you believe that sports is worth investing your time and attention in - a worthwhile pastime, a viable career option, and a source of inspiration – as a fan, as a viewer, and as a participant. We believe sports in India is on the move and our stories fuel this movement”

Sanjog Gupta, Head - Sports, Star and Disney India

Sanjog Gupta, Head - Sports, Star and Disney India

Sanjog Gupta leads the Sports business for Star and Disney India which includes a portfolio of 17 channels. In this role, he is responsible for the business, product (programming & production), marketing, and strategy for the Sports network.

Sanjog has been pivotal in driving the Sports broadcasting space in India. Prior to his current role, he was the content head for sports where he shaped and delivered marquee national and international broadcasts watched in over 200 countries ranging from IPL to ICC Cricket World Cup. Sanjog also played a significant role in driving growth for home-grown Indian sports properties such as Pro Kabaddi League and Indian Super League. He pioneered the regionalization of sports broadcasts by delivering live feeds in seven languages and launching regional sports networks in Hindi-speaking markets, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu.  He has championed grassroots development in sports by launching properties such as KBD Juniors and partnering with the Sports & Youth Affairs Ministry to launch Khelo India, which seeks to drive youth participation in Sports. The delivery of interactive consumer experiences and deployment of live AR/VR on broadcast – both world firsts – along with the use of state-of-the-art production technology have been crucial milestones in his vision of putting Star Sports at the forefront of the global broadcasting space.

Having been with Star India for 10 years, Sanjog also led content development for Life OK – Star India’s GEC channel for two years, prior to his role in Sports. He has been in the broadcast industry for almost two decades and has donned content leadership roles across English & Hindi News, Hindi General Entertainment, and Sports.

He is also the Chairperson of the Sports & Youth Affairs Committee at FICCI. In this capacity, he has been influential in bringing the focus of corporate India to sports development and holistically driving a strong multi-sport ecosystem in the country.

Sanjog is a Graduate in Economics (Honours) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi.

“A relentless pursuit of excellence and quality is what drives us. This underpins our aspiration to build a team that is able to navigate an ever changing legal and regulatory landscape and forge opportunities through it.”

Mihir Rale, Chief Regional Counsel, Star and Disney India

Mihir Rale, Chief Regional Counsel, Star and Disney India

Mihir Rale oversees legal and regulatory affairs for Star & Disney India.

Mihir has been practicing law for nearly two decades across both contentious and non-contentious issues.  Since joining Star India as a Manager in 2009, Mihir has played an instrumental role in the growth of the company. In 2019, he was promoted as the India lead for the company.  At Star India, he has helped increase the company’s stake in Tata Sky, set up the Media Pro joint venture, acquire the ESPN stake in the ESPN Star Sports joint venture as well as setting up the joint ventures for the company’s football and Kabaddi initiatives. He has been deeply involved in high-stakes acquisition of sports rights such as IPL, BCCI, and ICC as well as the launch of Disney+Hotstar in India.

 

Mihir has also played a pivotal role in guiding the company and the industry through challenging regulations under an ever evolving regulatory landscape in India.

Mihir began his career with Haresh Jagtiani & Associates as a litigation counsel practicing before the Bombay High Court. Prior to joining Star India, Mihir worked at AZB & Partners, where he practiced both contentious and non-contentious assignments. 

Mihir holds an LLB and is a Bachelor of Socio-legal Sciences, both from the Indian Law Societies, Law College, University of Pune.

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