Media company Walt Disney has promoted James Pitaro to become the new president of sports broadcaster ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Networks.
Pitaro (pictured) replaces the long-serving John Skipper, who resigned in December, citing substance addiction.
The 48-year-old, who joined Disney in 2010, has served as chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media since 2016. He will report directly to Disney chairman and chief executive Robert 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,” Iger said. “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.”
Bodenheimer will stay on until the end of the year as a consultant.
“The appetite for quality sports content across platforms has never been greater, and I am looking forward to working with the talented ESPN team as we continue to redefine the future fan experience,” Pitaro said.
Disney is trying to adapt to a shift in consumer habits, with pay-television subscribers dropping off due to cord cutting. The company is launching a new streaming service called ESPN Plus, which will offer programming that is not available on ESPN’s television channels. The OTT service is expected to launch early this year and be priced at $4.99 (€4) per month.