Disney Names Pitaro As President of ESPN

  • Disney Names Pitaro As President of ESPN

Disney Names Pitaro As President of ESPN

"As a passionate and lifelong sports fan, I am honored to be joining the ESPN team during such a pivotal time in its storied history", Pitaro said in a statement. Since Skipper left, former ESPN chair George Bodenheimer has been running the sports network as acting chairman. Pitaro succeeds John Skipper, who resigned in December after admitting to substance abuse problems.

But ESPN - and Disney overall - is making big moves to adapt to the digital world, and Iger thinks Pitaro is the right person to lead ESPN there.

Disney has appointed a new president of ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Networks, naming James Pitaro to the post, Deadline reports.

Pitaro previously served as president, Disney Interactive.

For the fiscal year ending September 30, Disney had $55.1 billion in revenue and $14.8 billion in operating profit. In 2016, he added consumer products to his purview when the two divisions merged. Media networks, which is largely ESPN, earned $23.5 billion in revenue and $6.9 billion in operating profit. There are also pressing personnel decisions to make, including about the network's National Football League shoulder programming.

The network on Monday named James Pitaro its new president, effective immediately. His group absorbed Maker Studios into the Disney Digital Network after the company chose to integrate Maker instead of running it as a standalone division. ESPN Plus is also a trial run for another stand-alone streaming service Disney will offer next year, which will feature movies and television shows from the Disney, Pixar and Marvel libraries. ESPN has lost more than 13 million subscribers from its peak of 100.13 million households in 2011, and the company has laid off more than 500 employees - both behind-the-scenes personnel and front-facing talent - since October 2015. ESPN also faces an important round of negotiations with pay television distributors who have long complained about the high price of sports programming.