Disney names exec Jimmy Pitaro as new president of ESPN

- Maret 05, 2018

The Walt Disney Company named Jimmy Pitaro as the new president of ESPN Monday, tapping a longtime executive to lead the network after its former president resigned to deal with substance addiction.

Pitaro, who headed consumer products and interactive media for Disney, was widely seen as a favorite to succeed former ESPN president John Skipper, who surprised many of his own employees when he announced in December he was stepping down.

“Jimmy is a talented and dedicated leader with the right strategic vision, relentless drive and passion for sports required to lead the stellar ESPN team at this incredibly dynamic time,” Disney chairman and chief executive officer Robert Iger said in a statement.

Iger added: “Jimmy forged his career at the intersection of technology, sports and media, and his vast experience and keen perspective will be invaluable in taking ESPN into the future."

Though Pitaro has been with Disney, ESPN's parent company, since 2010, he has never served in a direct capacity for the sports network. Pitaro joined Disney in 2010, initially as president of the company's interactive media division, later expanding to also oversee consumer products.

Prior to joining Disney, Pitaro was the vice president of Yahoo Media, where he also worked on the company's music and sports verticals.

Iger cited Pitaro's experience with driving innovation at Disney and Yahoo as a key factor in the company's decision to name him for the role of president at ESPN.

"Creating transformative entertainment experiences through digital technology has been a hallmark of Mr. Pitaro’s career, from building Yahoo Sports into an industry-leading online service to leading Disney’s creation of innovative interactive products and services," a spokesperson said in a statement.

Pitaro will serve as the eighth president for ESPN. Skipper, who joined the company in 1997, became president in 2012.

“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction,” Skipper wrote in December. “I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.”


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