NEW YORK (AP) — John Skipper, president of the sprawling ESPN sports activities community, stated Monday that he’s resigning to deal with a substance abuse problem.
Skipper’s sudden announcement will drive the Walt Disney Co.-owned community to seek for new management at a time of retrenchment, with the corporate shedding subscribers because of cord-cutters and dealing to spice up its digital output to observe the migration of younger sports activities followers to their smartphones.
The 61-year-old govt, who has labored at ESPN since 1997 and has led the corporate since 2012, stated he is struggled for a few years with substance habit however gave no particulars of his particular problem. He stated he had concluded that now’s the time to take care of it.
“I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a sense of getting let others I care about down,” he stated. “As I take care of this difficulty and what it means to me and my household, I ask for applicable privateness and a bit understanding.”
The sports activities community stated Skipper’s predecessor, George Bodenheimer, has agreed to function appearing head of the corporate for the subsequent 90 days.
Disney Co. chief govt Robert Iger stated he needs Skipper properly throughout a difficult time. “I respect his candor and help his determination to give attention to his well being and his household,” Iger stated.
There was no public indication that this was coming. Earlier this 12 months, Skipper signed a contract extension to maintain him at ESPN by means of 2021 and final week spoke concerning the firm’s plans in New York on the Sports Video Group Summit. He instructed the group of business specialists that ESPN’s rising digital viewers is making up for the lack of tv viewers.
He additionally known as a whole lot of ESPN’s on-air expertise to a summit final week at firm headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, to speak concerning the enterprise. ESPN has laid off personnel this 12 months to take care of new financial realities.
Disney’s proposed buy of a number of of 21st Century Fox’s belongings, if accepted, is probably going so as to add the 22 Fox-owned regional sports activities networks to ESPN’s portfolio.
ESPN can be not escaping the present give attention to sexual misconduct. ESPN rapidly canceled a present earlier this 12 months produced in partnership with Barstool Sports after some questions had been raised about content material, and the Boston Globe reported final week about a number of present and former staff describing a “locker room tradition” on the community that’s hostile to ladies.
Skipper acquired public help on-line from a number of media figures, amongst them ESPN’s anchor Jemele Hill — who Skipper suspended earlier this 12 months for violating the community’s social media coverage. Hill had criticized President Donald Trump and Dallas Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones in tweets.
“John Skipper is without doubt one of the most interesting folks I’ve ever labored for,” Hill tweeted.
Associated Press Business Writer Tali Arbel in New York contributed to this report.