ESPN President Skipper Steps Down Citing Substance Abuse

Skipper has run the sports media giant since 2012. Former President and Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer will serve as acting chairman of ESPN until a permanent successor is named, the network said Monday in a statement at its website. Skipper, 61, renewed his contract only last month in a deal that would have extended his tenure through 2021.

“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction,” Skipper said in the statement, without being more specific. “I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem. I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign.”

The news comes at a time of change at ESPN, as the network adapts to upheaval in cable television. Last week Disney agreed to a $52.4 billion deal to buy a large portion of 21st Century Fox Inc., a sale that includes all of Fox’s regional sports networks.

 

Skipper has been with ESPN for two decades, presiding over the best of times for the network, which has been the the largest contributor to parent Disney’s earnings. In the past few years, he’s stewarded the network in the face of daunting, new challenges, marked by subscriber and advertiser losses, job cuts and falling earnings. 

 

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