Disney Interactive Boss James Pitaro Named President of ESPN

John Skipper successor is also now co-chair, Disney Media Networks

James Pitaro

ESPN has found its John Skipper successor: Disney Interactive boss James Pitaro has been named the eighth president of the Worldwide Leader in Sports and co-chair of Disney Media Networks, effectively immediately.

Pitaro has served as chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media since 2016. That role will be re-filled shortly.

“Jimmy is a talented and dedicated leader with the right strategic vision, relentless drive and passion for sports required to lead the stellar ESPN team at this incredibly dynamic time,” Bob Iger said. “Jimmy forged his career at the intersection of technology, sports and media, and his vast experience and keen perspective will be invaluable in taking ESPN into the future. I also want to extend my utmost thanks to George Bodenheimer for serving as acting chair of ESPN these past few months; he is a true industry pioneer and helped make ESPN the undisputed leader in sports.”

“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. “The appetite for quality sports content across platforms has never been greater, and I am looking forward to working with the talented ESPN team as we continue to redefine the future fan experience.”

Pitaro came to Disney from Yahoo, where he built the Sports and Music brands. He holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from St. John’s Law School.

The former practicing lawyer replaces Skipper, who resigned in December citing a “substance abuse” issue.