MOSCOW, (March 9, 2006) – Marina Jigalova-Ozkan has been named Managing Director for The Walt Disney Company (Russia), it was announced today by Andy Bird, President, Walt Disney International. In this capacity, Mrs Jigalova-Ozkan will be responsible for driving the company’s growth strategy and co-ordinating all of Disney’s business efforts in Russia which will include overseeing Disney’s global brands in the market; expanding existing businesses; and seeking out new business opportunities.
With Mrs Jigalova-Ozkan’s appointment, Disney will now have its existing businesses in Russia managed locally, with all business segments reporting in to Mrs Jigalova-Ozkan, as well as their respective business units. Mrs Jigalova-Ozkan will be based in Moscow and will assume her new post on April 1, 2006.
“We are delighted to bring Marina’s knowledge of the Russian media sector and her expertise in building businesses in Russia to Disney as we increase our presence throughout the country,” said Bird. “All economic and business indicators point to impressive growth potential for Disney in Russia and Marina’s experience will be invaluable as we continue to exploit new business opportunities and contribute to Disney’s long term growth.”
Mrs Jigalova-Ozkan joins Disney from Prof Media Moscow, where she served as First Deputy General Director. Prof Media Holding is the largest private diversified media holding in Russia and whilst there, Mrs Jigalova-Ozkan led the management of the group in their launch of new businesses and acquisitions of new media assets, the development and implementation of restructuring programs in both the publishing and radio segments, as well as day-to-day operations.
Mrs Jigalova-Ozkan holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Economic Relations from the Moscow State Institute for International Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in the USA. She is fluent in Russian and English.
The Walt Disney Company, through its subsidiary and affiliated companies, has been active in Russia for over 15 years. Disney is one of the leading international providers of television entertainment in Russia including hit series such as “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost”, which was Russia’s top US series of 2005. The long-running branded timeslot “DisneyClub” is broadcast six days a week on Channel 1 and showcases the best in Disney animation. Disney is one of the top international film distributors in Russia and one of the top video and DVD distributors. Disney works with local and international licensees to produce a wide range of branded merchandise which is distributed through leading Russian and western retail chains. Since 2002, Disney has been publishing, marketing and distributing a broad portfolio of educational and entertaining multi-platform videogames in Russia. Already, Disney is the market leader in the children’s games segment there.
Recent research by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook) revealed that the Russian entertainment and media industry was the fastest growing in Europe, with a value in 2004 of over $12.4 billion. Also, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the economic important of the Russian middle class has increased from 7% in 2001 to 37% in 2005.