TV Industry: The most watched exits and entries of the year

From Uday Shankar to Sudhanshu Vats, we list all the major movements that made headlines in 2020

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 16, 2020 9:03 AM

Year 2020 turned out to be quite an eventful one for the television industry. The sector witnessed several top-level resignations and appointments that made headlines everywhere. 

So as the year draws to a close, we bring to you a list of the biggest entries and exits that created a stir here. 

The biggest shocker of the year undoubtedly was Uday Shankar’s decision to step down as President, The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India. The announcement, which came in October, not only made noise in India but was covered extensively by the international media as well. A visionary, Shankar’s contributions have changed the entire media landscape of the country. Disney hasn’t announced his successor yet, and it, for sure, will not be easy for anyone to fit in his shoes. 

Another high-level exit that surprised everyone came in April as then Viacom18 Group CEO and MD Sudhanshu Vats decided to move on after a stint of eight years. He later joined Essel Propack Limited as CEO & MD.  

At Viacom18, Vats left behind a strong leadership team which is now growing under the leadership of Rahul Joshi, MD of the Network18 Group.

Meanwhile, at Disney-Star, several more exits were announced after Shankar’s resignation, including Star Sports CEO Gautam Thakar. Following Thakar’s resignation, Sanjog Gupta, Executive Vice President of Star TV Network, was appointed to head the sports division.

The list of resignations and appointments at Disney- Star doesn’t end here. Star-Disney India recently expanded Kevin Vaz's role to CEO of Infotainment and Kids. Vaz, who has been with the company for over two decades, continues to helm the network's regional channel portfolio as well. Vaz has taken over the reins from Anuradha Aggarwal, who has stepped down from her role as Head of English, Infotainment and Kids cluster Shankar. 

Another big exit there was that of Walt Disney Company India’s National Head- Revenue (branded content and Bindass), Pawan Sharma. Sharma joined Network18. 

Meanwhile, Vikram Tanna, Head of Advertising Sales & Business Head of Regional Clusters, South Asia at Discovery Inc stepped down and joined Xfinite Global's Mzaalo as COO. Vednarayan Sirdeshpande, Head of Marketing at Discovery also resigned. 

ZEE too saw some major churning this year. As part of the strategic restructuring of the organization in the line with its ZEE 4.0 Strategy, the company appointed Rahul Johri as President – Business, South Asia. Johri had been in the past associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as its first CEO for over four years. Also, Punit Misra took over as President - Content & International Markets, and Amit Goenka as the President - Digital Businesses & Platforms.

Among the other high profiles exits in 2020 were Siddharth Jain, SVP and MD South Asia, WarmerMedia, and Jessica Kam, SVP of Original Productions – Entertainment, WarnerMedia. Also, after a six-year stint, Romil Ramgarhia quit BARC India as COO. He joined BARC India in 2014 as Chief Business Officer. 

Another big movement in the sector was that of Simran Hoon. After a long 13-year stint, Hoon, EVP, and Head of Ad Sales at Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd, stepped down this year. On the other hand, Viacom18 appointed Rajesh Iyer to take on the independent charge of Colors Bangla, Colors Odia, Colors Tamil, and Colors Gujarati.

Interestingly, this is also the year when the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) appointed its new chairman Dr. PD Vaghela. Vaghela replaced RS Sharma who retired on September 30.  

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