Uday Shankar a huge leader for the entire industry, says media fraternity

As Shankar sets out on the next chapter of his professional journey, friends and colleagues from the industry recount his many contributions to the media and entertainment landscape of India

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Oct 9, 2020 8:45 AM  | 8 min read
Uday Shankar

Media maven Uday Shankar, whose contributions have significantly changed the M&E landscape of the country has decided to step down from his role as President of The Walt Disney Company (APAC) and Chairman of Star & Disney India. Over the past decade, Shankar has helped bring reforms for the industry and its consumers. As he sets upon his new journey to pursue his entrepreneurial endeavours, friends, colleagues and industry leaders reflect on his many contributions to media and entertainment of India.

Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group 

"Uday has always left behind companies that are strong and able to take on the next challenge. We shd know. Star will thrive under the capable team he leaves behind. He builds institutions, not companies where he is indispensable. It takes a great leader to do that. I am so excited to see what he will do next!"

Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd

“In Uday, I have been fortunate to have found, not just a thorough professional colleague, but a very dear friend. We both go a long way back, right to days when he was shining in the realm of the editorial world. I have always enjoyed my interactions with him and we connected at a very unique and a creative level. Despite both of us being on the business and industry roles, whenever that we met, our conversations have largely been about the finer aspects of content, creativity and innovation. His contribution to the media & entertainment industry has been truly valuable. I wish him all the success in his future endeavours and good health.”

Arnab Goswami, Managing Director &  Editor-In-Chief Of Republic Media Network

"Uday and I go back a long way and I am hundred per cent sure that whatever he takes up next he is going to turn it into magic. Uday is one of the few professionals in this country today whose understanding of both the content and the business side is very well evolved.  Few can match his depth of understanding the Indian media business. He is going to be a great leader, a great entrepreneur and whatever he takes up next. I am sure it’s going to be  a game-changer in our industry."

Markand Adhikari, Chairman and Managing Director, SAB Group

"For Uday I can say that I have never seen such CEO with entrepreneurial quality. I remembered those days 23 years ago when he used to work with me on current affair shows. What an amazing unparallel rise! it's difficult to get next Uday Shankar for any media company. Wherever he goes will create his own path. Wishing him great success ahead."

Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP News Network

Uday Shankar is not just a media personality in this country; he is an institution in himself.  He has dealt with a generation of media persons and organisations and created extraordinary milestones for the growth of media and entertainment sector in India.

The value he created for 21st Century Fox by doing what he did at Star is unprecedented in India’s media and entertainment sector. Uday, as I know, only competes with one thing-he competes with what he is capable of.  He is an outlier, an amazing human being, a mentor to lesser mortals like us and a thinker beyond imagination.

What he does next is worth waiting for and last but not the least if he moves out from the media and entertainment industry to do something else it would be an irreparable loss for our sector.

NP Singh – MD & CEO, Sony Pictures Networks

“Uday is a great friend and a fierce competitor. We have had some great times together at a personal and professional level. He is a visionary and I have a lot of respect for his immense contributions in shaping our industry. His exit will leave a huge void and he will be missed. I wish him the best in his new journey.”

CVL Srinivas,  Country Manager, India, WPP

"Uday has had a massive impact not just at Star/Disney but on the Media and Entertainment industry over the past many years. He set the most audacious goals and managed to achieve them. He has groomed many outstanding leaders and has inspired all who have had the opportunity to work with him. I am sure he will continue to play a huge role in transforming the industry, in his new innings."

Prasanth Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, South Asia, GroupM

"Uday is a terrific leader. With a stellar vision and an awesome execution, many times it’s been a wonderful learning. Being an industry leader his contributions have always been towards a progressive direction and great support. These years, working closely with him and as an observer of this leadership, it’s been truly inspirational. I wish him always the very best!"

Vikram Sakhuja, Group CEO Madison Media & OOH at Madison World

Uday’s success comes from the conviction of his beliefs. He works hard to get to the depth of an issue and then with unwavering clarity and rare fearlessness executes it ruthlessly - be it Star’s regional expansion, IPL and sports rights acquisitions and the Digital Renaissance. Uday’s canvas is always big and bold. I personally love him for always speaking his mind and exhibiting integrity in his dealings.

Anupriya Acharya, CEO, Publicis Groupe South Asia

“Uday Shankar undoubtedly has had a Midas touch. Under his leadership, Disney-Star has seen a meteoric rise by pushing all creative boundaries, scaling up operations and drumming up innovation and growth. His bold vision, focus and actions,  be it the acquisition of the broadcast rights of the Indian Premier League – touted to be a landmark deal in India’s sports broadcast history, disruption of the digital space with the launch of Hotstar and now Disney+, iconic shows such as Satyamev Jayate and focus on grassroots sports such as Kabaddi, is truly admirable. At an industry level, he has accelerated future-readiness and value-creation for the industry as a whole. It’s been wonderful knowing him through the years and I wish him all the very best for the innings ahead.”

Raj Nayak, Founder of House of Cheer, and former Viacom18 COO

"My relationship with Uday goes back 30 years when we were working in a Newspaper together. He joined STAR News a year after I left STAR TV.

We were having lunch together in Goa for GoaFest around 11 years ago when he got the news and told me that he was taking over as the CEO of STAR Network. He was also among the first to call and congratulate me when I became CEO of Colors - Viacom18.

I have watched his journey closely since then, being a part of the same industry and he has been extremely inspiring. The biggest strength Uday has is his entrepreneurial bent of mind, the ability to take risks, take big bets and make quick decisions. The fact that he had a great relationship with James & Rupert Murdoch also  empowered his entrepreneur style of functioning.

His contribution as President of IBF and an active board member to industry initiatives has been immense. He leaves Disney on a high, leaving a robust TV network, having built India’s largest OTT platform Hotstar and a successful IPL. I wish Uday  all the best in his future endeavours."

Shashi Sinha, Chief Executive Officer, IPG Media

“First he knocked off with Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi. From there on, he only continued creating iconic shows like the Kiran Bedi show. Satyameva Jayate featuring Aamir Khan was another landmark thing of picking up causes and showcasing them. And then, IPL was another big, bold bet. In a business which is cut-throat, to stick around for so long and take such bold bets, leading the industry says a thing or two about his capabilities.”

Ashish Bhasin, CEO APAC Dentsu and Chairman India

"Uday has been a huge leader, not just for Star but for the entire broadcasting fraternity. He has never hesitated to state his mind bluntly, even on difficult issues, which is not commonly seen in professionals these days. I am sure he will do extremely well in whatever venture he takes up and I wish him the very best for his next innings."

Sunil Lulla, Chief Executive Officer, BARC India

“Uday Shankar has played one of the most significant roles in shaping television in the last two decades. One of the leading drivers to help create BARC and see it evolve with success. An astute content and business mind. He is a friend and a big well-wisher. Like at Aaj Tak, Star News and at STAR I am sure he will go on to create new magic and big success for himself. I wish Uday all the happiness and success.”

Uday has been a huge leader, not just for Star but for the entire broadcasting fraternity. He has never hesitated to state his mind bluntly, even on difficult issues, which is not commonly seen in professionals these days. I am sure he will do extremely well in whatever venture he takes up and I wish him the very best for his next innings.

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