Disney splits APAC and India leadership, names Luke Kang head of Asia ops

Disney has named Luke Kang president, The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) Asia Pacific to oversee its business in Southeast Asia, Greater China, Japan, Korea, and Australia/New Zealand. Disney will name the leader for is India business in early 2021. The appointment comes as Uday Shankar is stepping down from his role as president, The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific and chairman, Star and Disney India, effective 31 December this year.

In his role, Kang (pictured) will drive Disney's strategy and growth in the region and oversee its media networks, direct-to-consumer offerings including Disney+, media distribution and motion picture businesses, as well as other operations across Asia Pacific (excluding Disney parks). He will continue driving growth, innovation and brand affinity across these extremely diverse markets, and will closely collaborate with the consumer products team. Kang will report to Rebecca Campbell, chairman, international operations and direct-to-consumer at TWDC. 

Kang most recently served as EVP and MD, TWDC, Greater China, Japan and Korea, overseeing all of Disney's businesses in the area. Prior to that, he was EVP and MD, TWDC, Greater China based in Shanghai from 2014 to 2017. According to Disney, Kang led the team through "significant organisational and strategic change" during his time in Shanghai to achieve consistent record growth across all businss segments.

He first moved to China in 2014 as MD, Disney consumer products and Disney Interactive, TWDC, Greater China. In that role, Kang managed two key business units inclusive of consumer products, Disney stores China, publishing, eCommerce and Disney Interactive which included mobile, online, gaming and all franchise marketing. He first joined DIsney in 2011 as MD, TWDC, South Korea based in Seoul. Kang has also held various senior management roles with Viacom/MTV Networks in Asia Pacific, Monitor Group Asia Pacific Region, as well as startups in both Silicon Valley and Asia.

"I look forward to driving the company's business in Asia Pacific as we continue to evolve rapidly in order to engage our consumers across multiple touchpoints. It is an honor to build upon the legacy that Disney has established in some of the most exciting markets in the world and lead these amazing teams," Kang said. Meanwhile, Campbell said Kang is ideally suited to lead its efforts in the region given his deep understanding of its businesses in Asia Pacific.

Disney is certainly ramping up operations for its streaming platform Disney+. In November, it named Ahmad Izham Omar, former CEO of Media Prima's Primeworks Studios, executive director of content and creative for Disney+. That same month, it also appointed Danny Koik as executive director of partnerships and business development for the streaming platform. Just last week, TWDC announced that Disney+ will launch in Singapore next year on 23 February 2021, and it is the first market globally to launch with all six content brands - Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and Star.

Meanwhile, TWDC reorganised its media and entertainment businesses in October to focus on developing and producing original content for the company’s streaming services and legacy platforms. Under the new structure, distribution and commercialisation activities are also centralised into a single, global media and entertainment distribution group. Led by Kareem Daniel, the newly-created group oversees all monetisation of content for both distribution and ad sales, and is responsible for operations of Disney's streaming services.

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