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Disney announces succession plan in India, Ronnie Screwvala to step down as MD

It is official now. Ronnie Screwvala is stepping down from his post as Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) of its India operations. The same will be effective from June 30, 2014. Siddharth Roy Kapur, currently MD, Disney UTV's studio's business, will take over the company's India operations effective January 1, 2014 though Screwvala will assist in the transition until June 2014. 

"It's been a fantastic seven-year working relationship with Disney, first as a co-shareholder, then when Disney held a majority stake in UTV, and since last year as MD, Disney India," said Screwvala in a press release issued by the studio. 

Andy Bird, Chairman of Walt Disney International added, "I've had the pleasure of working with Ronnie for the past seven years and appreciate his entrepreneurial drive and vision for Disney in India. He has successfully managed integration efforts and set the foundations of long term growth for our business. In 2012 when we acquired UTV, Ronnie had a clear mandate to merge two organisations, build a single team and lay the strategic direction for a diversified media and entertainment company that would be part of the growing India growth story. When he passes on the baton in June 2014, almost two-and-half years since the acquisition, he will leave the company in a great place strategically and with a strong leadership team. We are delighted that he will continue to be associated with Disney in the future," added Bird. 

Bird also announced that Roy Kapur will become MD of TWDC India effective January 1, 2014. "Sid has been an integral part of the Disney UTV family and brings to the role a diverse set of business and creative skills and a strong pulse on the Indian audience and consumers," said Bird. 

Roy Kapur started his career in brand management with Procter & Gamble and then worked with STAR TV in Hong Kong, Dubai and Mumbai in various leadership roles. His tenure at UTV and later at Disney UTV spans more than eight years, first as a member of the core team that launched the successful kids channel Hungama TV (which Disney bought in 2006) and then working closely with Screwvala to build UTV Motion Pictures, which he has headed since 2008. The movies vertical has become one of the leading movie studios in the country, and is known for its path-breaking content and savvy marketing and distribution. 

"Sid's innate understanding of the Indian viewer, his ability to leverage those insights in business, coupled with his experience and expertise in fast-moving consumer goods businesses, television and in building India's leading movie studio made him the natural choice for the role," added Bird. 

For Roy Kapur, who has been with the media and entertainment industry for the last decade and a half of which more than half have been with Disney, it is a great growth opportunity specially with a studio which owns some of the best intellectual properties and characters that appeal to people of all ages.

The combined Disney UTV entity today is built around five core brands: Disney, Marvel, UTV, Bindass and Hungama—It is a strong mix of a nine-broadcast-channel network that ranks in the top five networks of the country and with full local production capabilities; Disney UTV India's movie studio produces in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam, and also builds an audience for Disney, Pixar,Star Wars and Marvel movies in India. 

The Walt Disney Company India started operations in July 2004 with its head office located in Mumbai, and significantly expanded its footprint in February 2012 after acquiring a controlling stake in UTV.