George Bodenheimer, President of ESPN and ABC Sports and Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks, will relinquish his day-to-day operating responsibilities on January 1. ESPN’s EVP content John Skipper has been anointed as his successor and will become ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks. Bodenheimer will assume the title of Executive Chairman of ESPN. He will continue to chair ESPN’s Board of Directors, report to the Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger and help a seamless transition to Skipper, who will assume day-to-day operating responsibilities Jan. 1. Skipper will have a dual report to Iger and Bodenheimer. “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,” Iger said. During Bodenheimer’s 13 years as president of ESPN, the network has been growing consistently domestically and internationally. “I’ve been with ESPN 31 years – my entire professional career,” he said. “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.”
As EVP, Content, Skipper is responsible for the creation, programming and production of ESPN content across all media platforms. He spearheaded several major rights agreements with the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, FIFA, the Masters Tournament, the British Open, the USTA and Wimbledon and launched the ESPN Films sports documentary franchise. Skipper joined ESPN in June 1997 as SVP and general manager of ESPN The Magazine.