The chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media has just been handed a whole wide world of sports to oversee.
Effective today, James Pitaro has been named President of ESPN.
The move is immediate for the Disney executive, who was elevated to his most recent role in 2016. He first joined The Walt Disney Co. in October 2010 as co-President of Disney Interactive.
Before that, Pitaro served as a VP and head of Yahoo! Media, including leading Yahoo! Sports. He’d been at Yahoo! since 2001.
He reports to Disney Chairman/CEO Bob Iger.
“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,” 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.”
Bodenheimer stepped into the lead role at ESPN following the departure of former ESPN President John Skipper, in December 2017. Explaining his exit, Skipper said at the time, “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.”
Pitaro said, “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. 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.”