George Bodenheimer, ESPN and ABC Sports President and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, announced today, effective immediately, the reorganization of ESPN’s business functions and executive management into six specific areas to pursue the company’s primary mission to serve sports fans and for future growth: content, technology, sales and marketing, international, finance and administration.
The executive management team reporting to Bodenheimer includes John Skipper, who has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Content; Chuck Pagano, promoted to Executive Vice President, Technology; Sean Bratches, promoted to Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing; and continuing in their roles, Christine Driessen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; Ed Durso, Executive Vice President, Administration; and Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International.
“Changes in our management ranks presented an opportunity to redefine our structure,” said Bodenheimer. “Aggregating all our creative energies in one division; placing all sales and marketing in one area to sell our growing menu of services; consolidating oversight of all technology; and affirming the centralized management of all international businesses are powerful statements. I’m excited about the prospects of this realignment and the people leading these areas. Not only does this reaffirm ESPN as the leading sports media entity, it will strengthen our commitment to serving sports fans.”
John Skipper, Executive Vice President, Content
Previously Executive Vice President, Advertising Sales and ESPN Enterprises, Skipper will now oversee content in all its forms for all ESPN and ABC Sports television, radio, Internet, publishing, wireless, broadband and Enterprises operations. Skipper joined ESPN in June 1997 after several years in the publishing business, including the Disney Publishing Group, which he joined in 1990. He oversaw one of the most successful magazine launches, ESPN The Magazine, in March 1998. He later added ESPN.com, consumer products and Mobile ESPN. Reporting to Skipper will be:
- Norby Williamson, previously Senior Vice President and Managing Editor, who has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Studio and Remote Production overseeing all game, event, and studio production work for ESPN and ABC Sports domestic television and radio networks (joined ESPN in 1985)
- Salil Mehta, Executive Vice President, ESPN Enterprises, who will continue to oversee ESPN Consumer Products, ESPN New Media and Mobile ESPN (joined The Walt Disney Company in 1994 and ESPN in 2005)
- John Wildhack, who has been promoted to one of two top programming positions in the company as Senior Vice President, Programming Acquisitions and Strategy, overseeing all rights negotiations and league relationships for all ESPN domestic television networks and ABC Sports (joined ESPN in 1980)
- David Berson, who has been promoted to the other top programming post as Senior Vice President, Program Planning and Development for ESPN and ABC Sports (joined ESPN in 1994)
- John Walsh, who will continue in his current role of Executive Vice President and Executive Editor for all media outlets (joined ESPN in 1988)
- Ron Semiao, who will continue in his current role of Senior Vice President, ESPN Original Entertainment (joined ESPN in 1985)
- Rick Barry, who will continue in his current role of Senior Vice President, Programming and Production Administration (joined ESPN in 1980); and
- Marie Donoghue, who will continue in her current role of Vice President, Business Affairs and Development (joined ESPN in 1999).
- Chuck Pagano, Executive Vice President, Technology
Previously Senior Vice President, Technology, Engineering and Operations, Pagano will have responsibility for all technology sectors within ESPN, ensuring ESPN’s cutting-edge position in the efficient utilization and development of technology across its properties. Pagano, who joined ESPN prior to its debut on September 7, 1979, was a key driver in the creation of ESPN’s Digital Center, one of the most technically sophisticated television production facilities in the world. Reporting to Pagano will be:
- Paul Cushing, who will be promoted to Senior Vice President, Management Information Technology (MIT), overseeing all of ESPN’s corporate systems infrastructure, software project management and telecommunications (joined ESPN in 1994); and
- Aaron LaBerge, who will assume the newly created position of Vice President, Technology, responsible for all technology operations in support of the Enterprises unit businesses as well as technology research and development (joining ESPN; joined Disney in 1997);
- A new position of Vice President, Engineering, which will be responsible for all transmission, systems and distribution engineering needs.
Sean Bratches, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Formerly President, Disney and ESPN Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Bratches will oversee all affiliate and advertising sales, research, marketing and special events. This brings into one division ESPN’s two primary revenue streams, affiliate and advertising sales, supported by marketing, research and client support services. Bratches, who joined ESPN in October 1988, will continue to report to both Bodenheimer and Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and President, Disney-ABC Television Group, for purposes of ESPN’s and Disney’s affiliate sales efforts, and directly to Bodenheimer for all other areas. Reporting to Bratches will be:
- Ed Erhardt, who will continue as President of ESPN ABC Sports Customer Marketing and Sales, overseeing all advertising sales and related efforts for all integrated media of ESPN and ABC Sports (joined ESPN in 1999);
- Ben Pyne, who will be promoted to President, Disney and ESPN Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing, overseeing the affiliate sales and marketing related efforts associated with all Disney and ESPN Media Networks (joined The Walt Disney Company in 1992);
- Artie Bulgrin, who will continue as Senior Vice President, Research & Sales Development, overseeing all research and sales support efforts for ESPN and ABC Sports (joined ESPN in 1996);
- Peter Rosenberger, Vice President, Special Events Marketing, will continue to support these ESPN areas with client and special events marketing (joined ESPN in 2000); and
- a new Senior Vice President, Marketing, overseeing all brand management and related marketing activities for ESPN and ABC Sports, who will be named in the weeks ahead.
Russell Wolff will continue in his current role of Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International. Wolff, along with the support of Driessen, has led initiatives around the world increasing the financial success of ESPN’s international operations. Wolff, who joined ESPN in 1997 managing ESPN’s business interests in the Pacific Rim, is responsible for all of ESPN’s international business initiatives across television, radio, publishing, wireless, broadband, and ESPN Enterprises operations.
Christine Driessen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will continue to oversee all of the company’s financial operations, including financial and program planning, strategic development, and office of the controller. Driessen joined ESPN in 1985.
Ed Durso, Executive Vice President, Administration, will continue to oversee legal and government affairs, communications, facilities, human resources and security. Durso joined ESPN in 1989.