"Sanjay took charge of my craziest ideas": Uday Shankar

Sanjay Gupta is the fourth top executive to leave Star India in recent times, suggesting that all's not well with the Star and Disney merger

Nov 08, 2019 09:19:00 AM | Article | Campaign India Team

Uday Shankar, president, The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific and chairman, Star and Disney India, called the departure of the company's country manager, Sanjay Gupta, a "personal loss".
"Above and beyond everyone, Sanjay has been the person who has taken charge of my craziest ideas and audacious ambitions of this company and made them real and successful... every time," said Shankar in a note to his employees. "He leaves a void in my life that would be impossible to fill," he added.
Gupta is the fourth top executive, and the senior-most, to have left Star India in little over a year, leading to speculation that the worst is not over in the merger of Star and Disney operations in this part of the world.
Over the last year-and-a-half, Star India has lost several key executives. In late-2018, Ajit Mohan, the lead for Hotstar joined Facebook as its country head. But over the last few months, there have been more exits. In May 2019, Star lost its president and head, ad sales, Amit Chopra to Samara Capital. In July this year, Gayatri Yadav, president - consumer strategy and innovation, moved on reportedly to set up her own venture. Her next move is not yet publicly known.
Gupta is now headed to Google as its country manager for India, a post that's been vacant since news broke in April this year, that Rajan Anandan, the earlier country head for Google India, would be joining Sequoia Capital. 
It must be noted that there have been departures on the Disney side as well, though it's a much smaller operation than Star in India. 
Shankar said in his internal note that "there is no one quite gifted as Sanjay (Gupta) in the entire Indian M&E sector". With its commitments to large scale properties like the IPL (for which all the above mentioned executives contributed in no small measure), Star India has a tough road ahead. 
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