ESPN has picked James Pitaro to serve as the new president of ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Network. He’s stepping in for John Skipper, who announced his resignation last year.
Pitaro will report directly to Disney CEO Bob Iger.
“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,” said Iger in a statement. “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. I also want to extend my utmost thanks to George Bodenheimer for serving as Acting Chair of ESPN these past few months; he is a true industry pioneer and helped make ESPN the undisputed leader in sports.”
Pitaro’s hire arrives roughly three months after Skipper suddenly announced his resignation. In December, Skipper said in a statement that he was leaving ESPN in order to address a substance abuse issue.
"I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem,” said Skipper. "I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign. I will always appreciate the human understanding and warmth that Bob displayed here and always.”
Pitaro takes over as head of ESPN after previously serving as president of Disney Interactive and as vice president and head of Yahoo Media.
He comes to ESPN as the network is preparing to launch its ESPN+ subscription streaming service. The service is launching this spring and it will cost $4.99 per month.