Substance Abuse Leads ESPN Skipper To Say ‘So Long’


“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.”

And, with those words, John Skipper on Monday announced his resignation as President of ESPN and co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks.

In a statement appearing at, Skipper did not reveal the substance he has struggled with, stating, “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.”

He continued, “We mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign. I will always appreciate the human understanding and warmth that Bob displayed here and always. I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down. As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.”

Skipper joined ESPN in 1997 as SVP/GM of ESPN The Magazine. He was named to his current job on Jan. 1, 2012.

It is Bodenheimer who will temporarily step in and assume Skipper’s duties as acting chairman of the company. This will be seen for the next 90 days, as Bodenheimer helps Disney Chairman/CEO Bob Iger find Skipper’s replacement.

Iger said of Skipper, “I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family.”

Bodenheimer was named president of ESPN on Nov. 19, 1998, and continued in the role through the end of 2011. He was then the company’s executive chairman, after Skipper took over as president of the company.

Bodenheimer issued a statement, saying, “I have great respect for John’s leadership, and I applaud the courage he’s demonstrating by addressing his challenge head on. The most important thing right now for John and his family is that he conquers his addiction, and the entire ESPN family is behind him.”