Disney veteran Luke Kang has been appointed president of the Walt Disney Company in much of Asia-Pacific. A separate India head is likely to be announced in the new year.
The new positions follow the departure of Uday Shankar, president of Disney Asia-Pacific and chairman of Star and Disney India, which was announced in October and becomes effective from Dec. 31.
Kang, who will report to Rebecca Campbell, chairman of international operations and direct-to-consumer, will oversee the company’s business in Australia/New Zealand, Greater China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.
His role includes Disney’s media networks, direct-to-consumer offerings including Disney Plus, media distribution and motion picture businesses, as well as other operations across Asia-Pacific, excluding Disney theme parks.
At present, Kang is executive VP and managing director of Disney for the North Asia grouping of Greater China, Japan and Korea, with direct country management of mainland China and Japan. He first joined Disney in 2011 as managing director for the company in South Korea, based in Seoul.
Kang has been in his current position since a (pre-Fox) split of Disney’s Asia business into North and South divisions in April 2017, and then another reshuffle in April 2019 at which time Shankar promoted many of his Fox executives.
Campbell made the announcement to staff and said a separate India head will be named in early 2021. In the interim period, the India business will be headed by K Madhavan, head of Star, and Sunil Ryan, head of Disney Plus Hotstar India, with both reporting directly to her.
“With his deep understanding of our businesses in Asia Pacific, Luke is ideally suited to lead our efforts in the region. He has played a critical role in transforming our business in Asia, optimizing operations, developing successful new revenue streams, and rapidly moving to roll out Disney Plus. I’m confident that he and our extended team will deliver even more value as we continue to manage and grow Disney’s DTC and media businesses in the region,” said Campbell in a statement.
Shankar hailed from the Fox side of the business, but his experience of Star Television and its huge streaming offshoot Hotstar (now named Disney Hotstar Plus) meant he was one of the first executive picks after Disney acquired 21st Century Fox. He will now pursue an entrepreneurial career.
“For some time now, I have been contemplating the question of how I give back to the country, community and the industry that have given me so much,” said Shankar in October.
“I think the best way to express my gratitude to all of them will be to support and mentor a new generation of entrepreneurs as they set out to create transformational solutions that will have a positive impact on countless lives. I intend to partner with global investors and pioneers to achieve this,” Shankar added.
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