George Bodenheimer is an ESPN and cable industry pioneer who led an unprecedented period of global growth at The Walt Disney Company. Bodenheimer oversaw all multimedia sports assets of The Walt Disney Company from 2003–2011 and was co-chairman, Disney Media Networks from 2004–2011. In 2012, he assumed the position of Executive Chairman of ESPN. In that capacity, he provided strategic direction for ESPN’s global business until he left the company in 2014.
In December 2017, Bodenheimer returned to the company as Acting Chair to provide interim leadership as ESPN identifies a successor.
Bodenheimer’s path to leadership mirrors that of ESPN itself – with his sharp focus on creativity and cutting-edge innovation, always enhancing value for sports fans and ESPN’s business partners, and his conviction for teamwork. While President of ESPN, his vision led to company, and industry-leading innovations in integrated sales and marketing, original programming, acquisitions of multiplatform sports rights and new technologies. At the same time, he solidified and enhanced ESPN’s position as the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company.
Consistent and substantive growth defined Bodenheimer’s tenure as President, leading to unprecedented success. His leadership style was simple but effective – empower all employees to proactively take charge of their careers and to base decisions on the company’s stated mission to “Serve Sports Fans. Anytime. Anywhere.” He launched a company priority process that engaged all employees to drive business initiatives. His vision created a vibrant, innovative workplace.
Bodenheimer’s leadership has been recognized throughout the industry. In April 2005, he received a Vanguard Award, the industry’s highest honor, from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. In 2008, he was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame for his leadership, innovation and contributions to the cable industry and his community. In December 2012, he was honored twice: the Distinguished American Award from The National Football Foundation and induction into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Throughout the years, he has received many other prestigious industry awards.
Bodenheimer serves on the boards of NCTA (The National Cable & Telecommunications Association), Cable in the Classroom and the Cable Center, a Denver-based institution that educates and informs about the power of cable television. In 2010, he was named to the board of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bodenheimer elevated the company’s numerous corporate outreach initiatives, most notably The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which was founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach and commentator Jim Valvano. The V Foundation has raised more than $130 million since 1993 and 100% of cash donations go directly to research. Bodenheimer also championed an impressive increase in ESPN employee volunteerism during his tenure as President, highlighted by more than 30,000 hours of service given to those less fortunate as part of the company’s 30th anniversary efforts. Since 1998, he has served on The V Foundation Board.
Bodenheimer also serves on the board of Denison University, SiriusXM and Under Armour. He graduated from Denison University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.