ESPN President Skipper Steps Down Citing Substance Abuse

Disney shares were little changed at $111.38 at 11:37 a.m. in New York.

“I don’t think it is material to the stock as ESPN is more than one person,” Paul Sweeney, analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence said. “That said, ESPN is facing an increasingly competitive marketplace, so management stability is important.”

Disney said Bodenheimer will serve as acting chair for 90 days, giving the company time to find a successor to Skipper.

“I join John Skipper’s many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him well during this challenging time,” Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

The network began a round of layoffs just weeks ago, cutting 160 positions, or about 2 percent of the workforce, because of declining viewership and rising programming costs.

The network also fired about 100 staffers in April, including football reporter Ed Werner, baseball writer Jayson Stark and hockey correspondent Pierre LeBrun. The struggles of the network, based in Bristol, Connecticut, have hampered Disney, which reported its first earnings decline since 2009 in the most recent fiscal year.

— With assistance by Anousha Sakoui

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