The Walt Disney Company is expanding its presence in Russia and has appointed Russian media veteran Marina Jigalova-Ozkan as MD in the territory.

Under her new Moscow-based role Jigalova-Ozkan will be responsible for driving the company's growth strategy, coordinating Disney's business efforts in the territory, overseeing Disney's brands in the market and seeking new business opportunities. She will start work April 1.

Jigalova-Ozkan was formerly first deputy general director at the largest private media group in Russia, Prof Media Holding, where she led the acquisition of new media assets.

Recent research by Pricewaterhouse Coopers revealed that the Russian entertainment and media industry was the fastest growing in Europe, valuing it at over US$12.4bn in 2004.

Disney has been active in Russia for over 15 years through its subsidiaries and affiliates, and its business was boosted recently by entertainment hits such as Desperate Housewives and Lost, the latter being Russia's top US series of 2005.

In addition, Channel 1's long running branded block Disney Club is broadcast six days a week, showcasing the best in Disney animation. Disney is also one of the top international film distributors in the country, as well as being market leader in the children's games segment there.

"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," said Andy Bird, president of Walt Disney International
Source : C21Media