The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) President and Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Iger announced today that he has named George Bodenheimer Executive Chairman of ESPN, and John Skipper ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks, effective January 1, 2012. The moves continue the Company's focus on ensuring strategic continuity and succession planning.
Bodenheimer, currently President of ESPN and ABC Sports and Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks, will relinquish his day-to-day operating responsibilities January 1. As Executive Chairman of ESPN, Bodenheimer will continue to chair ESPN's Board of Directors, provide strategic direction and support a seamless transition to Skipper, who will assume day-to-day operating responsibilities January 1. Skipper has served as ESPN's executive vice president, content, since October 2005.
Bodenheimer will continue to report to Iger. Skipper will have a dual report to 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's 13 years as president of ESPN have been marked by expansive growth domestically and internationally across every available metric and media platform. Today, ESPN is comprised of eight US television networks, five HD services, a 3D TV network, 48 international networks, 13 international editions of SportsCenter, 18 web sites, 750 radio affiliates, the largest mobile sports operation and 7,000 employees worldwide. ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters has increased to 116 acres, featuring a state-of-the-art digital production center with construction of a second facility underway.