Changes At Top Of ESPN: Bodenheimer Named Executive Chairman, Skipper Takes Over As President
November 23, 2011 at 4:28 AM (PT)
ESPN and ABC SPORTS Pres.ident and DISNEY MEDIA NETWORKS Co-Chair GEORGE BODENHEIMER will become Executive Chairman of ESPN and will hand off day-to-day operating duties of ESPN to EVP/Content JOHN SKIPPER, who will become ESPN Pres. and Co-Chair of DISNEY MEDIA NETWORKS. The changes will be effective JANUARY 1st. BODENHEIMER will continue to directly report to DISNEY Pres./CEO BOB IGER, while SKIPPER will report to both IGER and BODENHEIMER.
IGER said, "GEORGE has said repeatedly that ESPN's success has been led by its collaborative corporate culture and a deep bench of executive talent. While that remains true, it obviously and intentionally downplays his leadership and many significant contributions. We've focused on succession at all levels of DISNEY for some time now, and consistent with that approach, GEORGE initiated conversations last spring that led to today's announcement.
"With GEORGE's continued presence, JOHN's experience and vision and an executive management team and workforce that are unparalleled in the sports media business, ESPN is extremely well positioned for continued success."
BODENHEIMER said, "I've been with ESPN 31 years -- my entire professional career. Constant change and consistent growth have marked each of those years, and to me those two themes underscore today's news. We've demonstrated that change managed well is healthy -- for companies and for people. After 13 years as President, I felt it was a good time to step away from the day-to-day management of ESPN and let others take the lead. I very much appreciate BOB's support over the years, and look forward to my future role with ESPN.
"We are in great shape on many fronts. The people of ESPN have made us the great company we are today. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished together, and excited about our future."
SKIPPER said, "I am humbled and excited to be given the opportunity by BOB and GEORGE to lead this terrific company. GEORGE set a high bar and an impeccable example, and I will dedicate all of my energy to follow GEORGE's lead in both empowering and supporting my 7,000 ESPN colleagues who do such great work every day. I look forward to working alongside them in meeting the many challenges that lie ahead."