US media company 21st Century Fox has made a number of top-level changes at broadcaster Star India Pvt Ltd. Uday Shankar, currently CEO at Star India, has been made chairman and CEO while Sanjay Gupta has been promoted as managing director.
The company also appointed K. Madhavan as managing director in charge of Star’s south India business unit.
Gupta, who was earlier chief operating officer, and Madhavan will continue to report to Shankar.
“Uday, Sanjay, Madhavan and the entire Star India team have built a world-class business that has grown at double the industry rate. We are proud of its success and look forward to the next chapter of growth under Uday’s transformational leadership,” 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch said in a statement.
Shankar said the company needs to continuously innovate to expand Star’s reach. “We have set ourselves a bold growth agenda and these changes will deepen the leadership bench, unlock entrepreneurial energy and position Star better to deliver on its ambitions,” he said.
Before the elevation, Madhavan was managing director at Asianet Communications. He also headed the Maa channels along with Star’s other regional channels in the south. Star India acquired Asianet Communications in 2013. The channels will continue to run under the same branding.
Last December, Star India completed the integration of the broadcast business of Maa Television Network Ltd. Maa TV runs four channels–general entertainment channel Maa, music channel Maa Music and movie channels Maa Movies and Maa Gold.
As part of the latest restructuring, which was handled by the Boston Consulting Group, Star India has created five units—general entertainment, sports, digital, south, and film production and distribution–with each division head reporting to Gupta.
Amit Chopra has been promoted as the chief executive of the entertainment business. Chopra will now be responsible for drama and movie channels across national and regional channels in Hindi, English, Bengali and Marathi. Prior to this, Chopra was head of sales and distribution.
Nitin Kukreja will continue to head the sports business under Star Sports as chief executive. Ajit Mohan will head the digital unit as chief executive and will be in charge of the company’s over-the-top platform Hotstar. Before the promotion, Mohan was president and head of Hotstar. The company claims Hotstar has surpassed 50 million downloads. Star India runs Hotstar under Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary.
Also, Kevin Vaz has been named CEO, South. Vaz will report to Madhavan. This business unit covers Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Before the promotion, Vaz was general manager at Star Jalsha and Jalsha Movies.
Vijay Singh will remain the chief executive of Fox STAR Studios, the film production and distribution arm of the company.
The broadcaster is also setting up a pan-India content studio programming under Gaurav Banerjee, who will report to Gupta.
21st Century Fox is controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also controls News Corp, the parent of this news website.
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