ESPN President John Skipper has announced that he will resign from his post over substance abuse problems, effective immediately.
According to ESPN, former President and Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer will serve as Acting Chair of the company for the next 90 days, as he oversees the transition process for another person to take Skipper’s place.
ESPN has posted a statement from Skipper:
Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN.
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.
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.
I have disclosed that decision to the company, and 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.
To my colleagues at ESPN, it has been a privilege. I take great pride in your accomplishments and have complete confidence in your collective ability to continue ESPN’s success.
ESPN reported that Disney CEO Bob Iger also released a statement.
“I join John Skipper’s many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him well during this challenging time. I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family. With his departure, George Bodenheimer has agreed to serve as Acting Chair of ESPN for the next 90 days to provide interim leadership, help me identify and secure John’s successor, and ensure a smooth transition. I am grateful for George’s support and look forward to working with him again in this temporary role.”
Under Skipper, ESPN became increasingly political, costing the network money and viewers. It has also been plagued with massive layoffs. Last October it was discovered that the sports news network lost 15,000 subscribers a day.