Yesterday, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger announced that he was promoting John Skipper to president of ESPN and co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks. Skipper, who first joined Disney 22 years ago, has spent the past six years as ESPN’s head of content across platforms from TV to Web.
Skipper will be replacing George Bodenheimer, who has worked at ESPN 1981 and has been its president for the past 13 years. Disney said in its announcement that Bodenheimer wanted to step back from day-to-day management duties but plans to remain with ESPN as executive chairman. In the newly created position, he will oversee ESPN’s board of directors, as well as provide “strategic direction and support a seamless transition to Skipper,” Disney said.
"We have been 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 [this] announcement," Iger said in a statement.
Skipper, who has worked at periodicals including Rolling Stone, Spin, and Us Weekly, joined Disney’s magazine publishing group in 1990. He later moved to ESPN in 1997, where he oversaw the launch of ESPN the Magazine, and has been in charge of the creation, production, and programming of content for ESPN since 2005.
Skipper will take over as president on Jan. 1, and will report to Iger and Bodenheimer, while Bodenheimer will continue to report to Iger.