The Walt Disney Company has named James Pitaro president of ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Networks, effective immediately.
Pitaro’s appointment comes as ESPN preps the launch of its new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service ESPN+, which will offer live sporting events, original content and on-demand programming. In his new role, he will work under Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chairman and CEO.
Since 2016, Pitaro had been serving as chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. Before that, he was president of Disney Interactive. Earlier in his career, he was VP and head of Yahoo Media.
“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,” stated Iger. “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,” added Pitaro. “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.”