Sajith Sivanandan is joining Disney as executive VP and head of Disney+ Hotstar India, reporting into Rebecca Campbell, chair of Disney’s International content and operations group and K. Madhavan, president, Disney Star.

Sivanandan will join in October from Google, where he is currently MD and business head, Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, Asia Pacific. He will oversee Disney+ Hotstar’s overall business operations in India with direct responsibility for defining the streaming service’s strategic business priorities and charting a product roadmap for the streamer’s growth. He will also work closely with local leadership in international markets as well as with the Disney+ team in the U.S. to drive the service’s growth.

Disney+ Hotstar is currently the market leader in the Indian streaming space. A large proportion of that success was due to the popularity of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, which they had the rights for, for the last five years. However, in June, Disney+ Hotstar ceded the digital rights for the tournament for the next five years, after a bidding war, to Viacom18, a TV and streaming group backed by billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, who paid some $3 billion. Disney retained broadcast rights for $3.1 billion.

Sivanandan began his professional career with Star TV, now a Disney brand, in India in 1996, where he managed the North India market for music channel Channel V. He has spent 14 years with Google. He replaces another Google executive, Sunil Rayan, who stepped down in March and is now chief business officer at machine learning solutions company Moloco.

Campbell said: “I am delighted to have Sajith join our executive team and lead the innovative team at Disney+ Hotstar. His deep experience in the region, combined with his strong leadership and business management skills will greatly benefit Disney+ Hotstar as the platform embarks on its next phase of growth.”

Madhavan said: “After witnessing rapid growth in recent years, the OTT [streaming] market in India has entered a transformational phase which calls for an ingenious approach to the manner in which we innovate for growth. Sajith’s wealth of experience that he has gained over the years makes him the best person to lead Disney+ Hotstar on this journey.”

Sivanandan added: “Disney and Star are brands with an incredibly rich history of innovation, user focus and storytelling, and Disney+ Hotstar brings those attributes together flawlessly. The opportunity to come back home to where I started my career and to work alongside a very talented team to serve Disney+ Hotstar users in India and in emerging countries is one that is both a privilege and an honor.”