ESPN is now in the search for a new president.
On Monday, John Skipper announced he is resigning as ESPN president due to substance-abuse problem. Skipper additionally served as co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks.
“Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN,” Skipper said in a statement. “I have had a wonderful career at the Walt Disney Company and am grateful for the many opportunities and friendships. I owe a debt to many, but most profoundly Michael Lynton, George Bodenheimer and Bob Iger.
“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.”
Skipper earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature at the University of North Carolina.
Bodenheimer, who was the president of ESPN from 1998-2011 and then executive chairman through May 2014, will serve as the company’s acting chairman for the next 90 days as Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive officer, searches for Skipper’s replacement.
The 61-year-old Skipper arrived at ESPN in 1997 to become the senior vice president and general manager of ESPN The Magazine. Skipper was named ESPN’s president on Jan. 1, 2012.
“I join John Skipper’s many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him well during this challenging time,” Iger said in a statement. “I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family. With his departure, George Bodenheimer has agreed to serve as Acting Chair of ESPN for the next 90 days to provide interim leadership, help me identify and secure John’s successor, and ensure a smooth transition. I am grateful for George’s support and look forward to working with him again in this temporary role.”
The new president will inherit a company which has been mired in some upheaval, such as another batch of layoffs in November.
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