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Excl: Sameer Pitalwalla quits Disney UTV to launch own venture

Sameer Pitalwalla, director of video and celebrity at Disney UTV, has left the company to start his own venture. His last working day at Disney UTV will be June 28, 2013, post which he will continue to work with the company as a consultant. The firm is still looking for a replacement of Pitalwalla.

"While Friday is my last day at Disney UTV, I will continue to work with the company as a consultant, at least for now," said Pitalwalla. Although he did not disclose the details of his next venture, he did mention that it would be something in the digital media space. "It is still too early to talk about the venture," he added.

Pitalwalla joined Disney UTV back in January 2011. Prior to that, he had a near-four-year stint with the Times Group, which he left as the business head of Follo.co.in at Times Internet Ltd. He had also worked at Daily News and Analysis (DNA) and Techtree.com. Pitalwalla holds an MA in Media Management from the University of Westminster (UK) and a bachelor's degree in Mass Media and Advertising from the University of Mumbai.

In August 2012, media giant Walt Disney Company consolidated all its digital media properties across platforms and content categories under a new entity in India called Disney UTV Digital, which was co-headed by Vishal Gondal and Samir Bangara.

The new entity housed the digital businesses of Disney UTV and its gaming subsidiary Indiagames. While Gondal was the founder and chief executive of Indiagames, Bangara, previously the COO of Indiagames, was redesignated as managing director (digital) of the Walt Disney Company India earlier in the year.

Bangara left the company and joined AR Rahman and Shekhar Kapur's media startup Qyuki.com as MD and CEO, taking the helm from the former CEO Poonacha Machaiah. In April this year, Gondal also quit the company to pursue entrepreneurship. However, he will be with the company till the end of this month (June 30, 2013). Sameer Ganapathy, who was earlier the executive director, movie channels & channel distribution and media networks, at Disney UTV, was promoted to head the business function of Disney UTV's digital arm.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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