Pitaro Named President ESPN, Co-Chair Disney Media

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Pitaro served as chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media before taking over this position.

Walt Disney Co on Monday named longtime executive James Pitaro as the new president of its ESPN sports network, which is trying to navigate a rapid consumer shift from traditional television to online viewing. He was formerly a vice president and head of Yahoo! His appointment is effective immediately.

Pitaro joins ESPN, a top performing asset for Disney, at a time of turmoil for the sports media company.

Prior to being named ESPN's eighth president, Pitaro led Yahoo!

A recent push by ESPN is in starting up a new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service - ESPN+ - offering live sporting events, original content and on-demand programming.

"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". Skipper, 61, had been with ESPN since 1997 but announced he was stepping down and seeking treatment for substance abuse.

Disney Chairman Robert Iger said Pitaro forged his career at the intersection of technology, sports and the media.

Pitaro studied economics and played wide receiver on the football team at Cornell, where he graduated from the College of Human Ecology with a degree in economics. He has a law degree from St. John's, and he practiced law at several NY firms before going into media.

Skipper cited a "substance addiction" in announcing his immediate resignation on December 18, and ESPN has been led on an interim basis by George Bodenheimer, a former network president. "He is a true industry pioneer and helped make ESPN the undisputed leader in sports".

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