Walt Disney appoints J&J’s Samant as MD


MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company (India) has appointed Mahesh Samat as the managing director. Samant replaces Rajat Jain who quit the company in March this year.

The announcement was made by Walt Disney International president Andy Bird.

Samat will be responsible for driving the company’s strategy, coordinating all Disney business efforts in India, including overseeing Disney global franchises in the market, expanding existing businesses and seeking out new business opportunities. He will be based in Mumbai and will report to Bird.

Samat will manage all of the existing Disney businesses in India, except the ESPN/Star Sports joint venture, with all local business segments reporting into him.   

Said Bird, “International growth is of particular importance to Disney and Mahesh’s experiences within India and worldwide will serve Disney well as we grow all of our businesses in this market. We are particularly pleased that Mahesh brings to Disney expertise in developing brands, identifying growth drivers and creating plans for emerging markets.”

Samant stated, “The strong equity and heritage of Disney globally against the backdrop of India’s rich cultural and media environment make for endless possibilities and significant growth opportunities. I am truly excited to work with our talented team in shaping the future of Disney in India.”

Samat has had over 20 years of experience across India, Asia-Pacific and Europe. He joins Disney from Johnson & Johnson, where he was most recently managing director, Southern Europe, J&J Vision Care, based out of London. He joined J&J in 2000, holding various positions in management and marketing.  Prior to this, Samat worked for Kellogg’s where he was responsible for marketing, nutrition marketing and research for the company in India.