The Walt Disney Company (India) has appointed Mahesh Samat as Managing Director. Samat will be responsible for driving the company’s strategy, coordinating all Disney business efforts in India, overseeing the global franchises of Disney in the market, expanding existing businesses and seeking new business opportunities. Samat will be based in Mumbai and will report to Andy Bird, President, Walt Disney International.
Samat will manage all the existing Disney businesses in India except the ESPN-Star Sports joint venture. All local business segments would be reporting to him.
Making the announcement, Bird said, “International growth is of particular importance to Disney, and Mahesh’s experiences within India and worldwide will serve Disney well as well as grow all of our businesses in this market. We are particularly pleased that Mahesh brings expertise in developing brands, identifying growth drivers and creating plans for emerging markets.”
Samat brings over 20 years of experience across India, Asia-Pacific and Europe. He joins Disney from Johnson & Johnson, where he was most recently Managing Director, Southern Europe, J&J Vision Care, and was based in London. He joined J&J in 2000, holding various positions in management and marketing. His responsibilities included the creation and execution of an emerging markets business plan, identifying key growth drivers, as well as creating stronger organisational development.
On his new role, Samat said, “The strong equity and heritage of Disney globally against the backdrop of India’s rich cultural and media environment make for endless possibilities and significant growth opportunities. I am truly excited to work with our talented team in shaping the future of Disney in India.”
Prior to J&J, Samat worked for Kellogg’s where he was responsible for marketing, nutrition marketing, and research for the company in India. Samat has also worked for Warner Lambert/Parke-Davis as Director of Consumer Health Products, and was responsible for marketing products such as Benadryl and Listerine. He has also worked with Boots India, where he managed the marketing for several brands in the Boots portfolio.